• Monday, viewed from Wednesday

    11 Jul 2012, 9:49

    I met a guy called Eduardo Beng the other day who works on the Olympic Organising Committee and he told me the Olympic logo this year is only going to have three rings because they can't afford the other two. He asked me which ones they should do away with and I said the bottom ones so the other three aren't interlinked because it's pretty obvious the world's nations all hate each other these days anyway. Also I said they should do away with the colours and make the remaining three rings all grey. The first grey ring could represent the weather, the second could represent the brightness of our collective futures and the third could represent London's sense of fun over the past five years. He gave Seb a call there and then (Seb's response was basically the pftpftpftpftpft noise of a balloon deflating) so I think that means its all going ahead.

    Later, as I was walking down the middle one of the empty bus lanes that no-one, not even buses, are allowed to use these days because they're reserved for VIPs like a lot of Moscow was in the 70s I bumped into another guy. He was called Simon Fez and he worked for TFL (Transport for London) and his job was to go around the city lifting manhole covers, creating "booby traps" as an attempt to dissuade cyclists and motorcyclists from driving around London during the Olympics and presumably ever after. I suggested (kind of tongue-in-cheek) that they re-lay all the city's block paving so all the blocks are set in at a 45-degree angle making it a practical impossibility to push a pushchair down the pavement, just in case a VIP gets held up momentarily between his Jag and the Savoy by a young mother returning from a fruitless day rooting round in bins for scraps of food. Anyway, he took me seriously, so sorry about that.

    That evening as I sat nursing a pint of mild in a once-flourishing riverside pub now devoid of customers courtesy of the smoking ban, the recession and the Thames' pungent aroma I noticed that a couple of acts were scheduled to play that evening, going by the names of The Smoking Band and Re:Session. As I never go anywhere without my banjo I briefly toyed with the idea of adding myself to the bill as James Pungent-Aroma but I figured no-one else would get the joke so instead I just set up my bontempi and rapped the lyrics to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, to a rapturous applause, I should add.
  • 23972 track Spectacular!

    25 May 2010, 10:44

    It's been some time since I've written anything here. Almost four years, in fact. A lot has happened in the meantime. My age now starts with a 3 rather than a 2. The US has voted in its first black president. The world has been introduced to someone called Lady Gaga. Iceland has gone bankrupt. They finally got round to finishing Lost. So why, after all this time, have I chosen to add an entry now?

    Well, it's a special day for me. My "play count" on Last.fm has finally reached the magic 23972 and I couldn't let that special moment pass without comment.

    So, here are my predictions for the day I reach the next milestone; 47944 tracks:

    My age will start with a 4. The US will have voted in its first gay president. The world will have been introduced to someone called Arseface Ludicron. Iceland will go back in time to 1981. They will finally get round to finishing Lady Gaga.

    Just call me Nostradamus. Well, only do that if you don't expect me to respond, becase it isn't my name.
  • We have a winner

    19 Jul 2006, 8:45

    Well, after an overwhelming response to the other week's competition it's taken me quite some time to sift through all the entries. But the winner, I'm happy to announce, is I_Killed_JFK_006 with:

    If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
    Quaint little villages here and there
    Shut up you sad dickhead. How old are you? 28? What are you doing blogging on the internet? You should be chatting to your fellow golfers about fuel economy and mortgage rates like every other sad middle-aged man. Do you ever leave the house? There's a big wide world out there man, go find it and stop trying to socialise with people you'll never meet using technology you don't understand. Nice trainers. Size 12. Parp.

    So yes... some kudos are winging their way to you. Congratulations.

    In other news, it's hot outside. Really really hot. It's freezing in here because the aircon is overly vicious, but outside...? Woah nelly it's hot. Cars are melting, small children are bursting into flames, trees have turned to charcoal and hens are laying ready-boiled eggs. It's like sitting on the surface of the sun in thermal pants. With the heating on. It hasn't been this hot since, erm, yesterday.

    It's a well known fact (proven by scientists) that the hotter it is, the better beer tastes. So later on, I and my fellow 9,999,999 Londoners will be heading down to the same riverside pub to spend an evening queueing at the bar. Bah - fairweather drinkers. Where were you in January eh? What do you mean "still skint after christmas"? That's no excuse - what do you think credit cards are for? That's the problem with drinkers today... no commitment. Parp.
  • Competition time

    29 Jun 2006, 16:01

    Does it make me overly geeky that the song "At the River" by Groove Armada irks me for its lack of "then" clause. The lyrics go:

    If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
    Quaint little villages here and there

    But there's no "then" clause. It just repeats:

    If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
    Quaint little villages here and there

    Well, then... what if I am fond of these things? What's it to you? Do you want me to do something? Have you got something for me? Is it illegal - are you going to lock me up? Are you just going to agree because you're fond of them too? What? You can't give me half a story and then leave me hanging. That's not on.

    So... suggestions please for a suitable resolution to this, along the lines of:

    If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
    Quaint little villages here and there
    Then let's go for a pint some time because I like those things too


    If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
    Quaint little villages here and there
    Then come to the Isle of Man, because we've got loads of all that stuff

    Winners will receive some kudos.

    *Disclaimer. Kudos is/are metaphorical. The winner will not actually receive anything. No cash alternative.
  • Honey, I'm home

    26 Jun 2006, 9:28

    So it turns out that this international footballing contest is still on and somehow England's national squad have blundered their way through to the quarter-finals, which to be fair is further than I expected. I can't watch the matches though - every World Cup the game seems to get a little less Jules Rimet and a little more Charlie Chaplin. There appears to be a new rule whereby if an opponent gets within 10 yards of you, you have to throw yourself at the ground and roll around apparently in agony until the referee ignores you* at which point you get up and run after the ball again. It's only a matter of time before players are carrying ladders over their shoulders and swinging them around knocking other players over with hilarious consiquences. And throwing buckets of glitter all over each other. And driving onto the pitch in a funny little car that falls to pieces. And juggling with the half-time oranges.

    (* - this year the refs have been doing a lot less "ignoring" and a lot more "falling for it")

    Still, I've found it hard to ignore the World Cup so far as I've had a week off work and spent almost all of it in a pub in Ealing, a place where every pub has a dozen TVs and a thousand cheering and jeering football fans per telly, most of whom never watch the game for the other 3 years and 11 months between World Cups.

    For one glorious day, however, last Saturday I was able to spend an entire day without so much as a smigeon of football - for I spent the day in Hyde Park with 84999 other people, watching the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Motorhead, Juliette and the Licks and *cough*Angels and Airwaves*cough*

    And what a day. I don't know if you've ever seen 85000 people in the same field, queueing for the same bar, using the same urinal etc, but it's a lot of people. And (although I ordinarily tend to avoid crowds of 85000 people the same way I avoid rabid, rampaging bulls with machine guns) everyone was there for the same purpose, the weather was fantastic and the atmosphere was brilliant. Foo Fighters performed a wonderful set, although it seemed very short - that may have been because I was having such a good time. And it was great to see Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May come on to play for the encore. Queens of the Stone Age were a little disappointing - there appeared to be something wrong with the sound for their set. Still good to see them though.

    Juliette and the Licks were a pleasant surprise - I'd put Juliette Lewis down as another singer-wannabe actress using her movie success to progress her career, but to be honest, these guys have played every crappy dive in the US and Europe (and probably further afield too) and you have to admire them for that. But moreso, they were really good, and Juliette was obviously having the time of her life up there. Motorhead were, well to be fair they were Motorhead through and through. My mate and I were just jumping up and down screaming "It's only fucking LEMMY!" and being massively amused at the fact that although they played 10 songs that sounded identical to Ace of Spades, the crowd ignored almost every other track.

    Angels and Airwaves... well... I'm not sure what they were doing on the bill at all. I'm a bit of a Blink 182 fan to be honest, so I was secretly pleased that Tom Delongue was going to be there - but I'm sorry, he's obviously not the songwriter in Blink 182. It was boring, self-indulgent and I didn't enjoy it at all - even less so Tom's US-style pep-talk that we could all do what we wanted in life and the sky is the limit. Yes, thanks Tom, I'm well aware of that. Now get on with it. A huge cheer went up when they announced the last song would be their last, and amusingly Tom looked rather pleased with himself, evidently failing to spot the irony in the cheer.

    Angels and Airwaves aside though, it was a great afternoon/evening and well worth the effort. And hats-off to the organisers too - despite there being 85000 people there, the inevitable queues and crushes were handled with military efficiency. Of course, with 85000 people each paying 35 quid to be there they could afford to throw money at the problem.

    And a week later - I've just about recovered.
  • Bring back MC John Barnes

    16 Jun 2006, 8:58

    Whenever an artist or band waltzes onto the music scene proclaiming themselves to be the best musicians the world has ever seen, better than anyone who has come before (raise your hands Oasis and Razorlight) they immediately earn my disdain and forfeit any CD sales they might otherwise have got from me. Gallagher and Borrell have strutted around proclaiming themselves to be the mutt's nuts with an arrogance that'd make Kim Jong Il blush when the real heroes out there quietly perform heart bypasses and haul people out of burning buildings without a fuss or a Grammy to their name. Have some perspective guys, you just play guitars. And once upon a time, following in Oasis' wake, a guy called Danny McNamara announced that his band, Embrace were, once again, the best band the world had ever seen.

    And then promptly disappeared.

    More recently (much to everyone's relief) Embrace have made a bit of a comeback, initially with a track penned by Coldplay's Chris Martin, and now with England's official World Cup song, which I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) doesn't mention "football", "England", "World Cup", "Jules Rimet" or any of the phrases that suggest it was actually written for the occasion at all. And "Three Lions" it ain't. It's about as catchy as the Ukranian national anthem. How many times have you heard it sung on the terraces? None, probably, but then you wouldn't even notice it if it was.

    As the ballad winds up and the orchrestra groans into life McNamara warbles "You are the first in my life to make me think that we might go all the way." This isn't a song about football. He's not singing to the England squad here. These are the words of a sexually frustrated nineteen-year-old sitting in his bedsit singing about some girl who he hopes might let him touch her boobs. Is it any wonder the boys struggle to get a goal past Trinidad and Tobago when they're geed along with a song like that? I'm surprised they even bother to show up at the stadium. I can imagine Beckham now... "You know what boys, I was all fired up for this match but then I listened to our official song and now I don't think I can be arsed getting on the bus."

    The best "official" football song of all time by a country mile has to be Del Amitri's heart-wrenching but ultimately realistic "Don't Come Home Too Soon" - a track about Scotland's chances of winning the France '98 competition featuring lines like "Even long shots make it" and "The world may not be shaking yet but you might prove them wrong" - they may as well have called it "Sorry boys - you haven't got a chance" - you can rely on a Scotsman to tell it like it is. I don't think that one mentioned football in it's lyrics either.

    Anyway... yes, the point I was going to make was that there appears to be some sort of international sporting event taking place in Germany right now in which 22 men run around a field and fall over a lot. And somehow the fellas representing England have managed to blunder their way through to the last sixteen by kicking a ball in the general direction of their opponent's goal and letting the law of statistics dictate that one or two of them must end up in the back of the net, even if they have to bounce it off one of the opposing team or wait until the 83rd minute before bothering to get on with the important business of winning. It must take a huge amount of skill to kick a ball at a goal so many times without getting it in.

    See you in Cologne where once again England will attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
  • A bit of this is even about music

    15 Jun 2006, 9:28

    So I've been accused of being lazy for having not updated my journal for so long. And that's a pretty fair accusation really. So here we go. I've not written anything since, let's have a look, bloody hell, not since I was whining about the Arctic Monkeys. Well, since then the furore surrounding them seems to have died down a little and I like to think that's down to me. So pats on the back all round, and let's get on with this.

    Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age in Hyde Park at the weekend. I've been looking forward to this one for months. A close friend who I only get to see a couple of times a year is coming to stay and aside from a week of heavy-drinking all we have planned is this one gig. I'll probably see you there if you're going. I can't imagine there will be many other people there. I can taste the warm, flat lager already.

    In other news, I was waiting to cross Hammersmith Broadway yesterday and I noticed a woman driving past wearing a smog mask. In her car. If she was on a bike I could understand it, or even if she was in a convertible. But she was inside a car, driving through London. How odd. The thing I found really ironic was that she was driving one of those insane Japanese saloons like an EVO or an Impreza WRX or something that get about four miles to the gallon and pump out enough fumes to inflate a hot air balloon every few seconds. If you're going to drive a car like that you have to at least be prepared to pretend that smog isn't an issue for you. Otherwise it's like putting a brick in your cistern to save water and then leaving all your taps running. Maybe she was making some kind of post-modern ironic statement, like "I'm strangling the planet to point out the futility of fools who drive 10 miles in their Range Rovers to take 2 bottles to the recycling centre and somehow think they're saving the planet." She could be the new Alanis Morrissette with a sense of irony like that.

    Speaking of Alanis Morrissette, a lot of people berate her for writing a song called "Ironic" in which she goes on about a load of stuff like "rain on your wedding day" that isn't really ironic at all. Now this has been done to death, but let's face it, Alanis is the queen of irony. Surely writing a song called "Ironic" which is supposed to be about irony but isn't (causing her to be berated for her misunderstanding of irony as a concept) is a master-stroke in irony itself. How can you get any more ironic than that? She must be laughing at all of us from her irony house, made of iron. While she does the ironing. Sweet Jeebus, that girl knows her irony. Don't you think?
  • Enough already

    30 Ene 2006, 17:02

    "So Jon," I hear you shout, "It's been over a month now and we've still had no more of your trademark amusing and witty journal. What's going on?"

    Well, calm yourselves down. I'm here now. I've just been a bit busy, recently, that's all. What with working, watching TV, drinking port and hiding from every single motherfucker who won't shut up about the bloody Arctic Monkeys, I've had quite a lot on.

    So this is what I've learned over the past month or so. The Arctic Monkeys are everywhere. The Arctic Monkeys are the best band ever. The Arctic Monkeys are saving rock and roll. They're saving the world from all evil. They are god. The Arctic Monkeys can fly, travel through time and fry an egg without getting that runny bit around the yolk. The Arctic Monkeys can speak over 20 different languages. The Arctic Monkeys last week broke the land speed record on a Raleigh Chopper. The Arctic Monkeys can do anything they set their mind to. The Arctic Monkeys have superhuman strength, wings like a shield of steel, a batmobile, webslingers and are NOT allergic to Kryptonite. Everybody in the world owns at least seven Arctic Monkeys albums. There are tribes in Papua New Guinea who have never heard of electric guitars but have posters on their hut walls of the Arctic Monkeys. In the Arctic the Arctic Monkeys are simply called the Monkeys. In the Arctic the Monkees are referred to as the Non-Arctic Monkees. The Arctic Monkeys live in the centre of the earth. The Arctic Monkeys have been pre-approved for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven regardless of any sins the commit between now and their death, but this is a moot point because the Arctic Monkeys are immortal. The Arctic Monkeys were responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire, the collapse of Enron and the end of Communism in Central Europe. The Arctic Monkeys are so massive that they have their own gravity. The lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys carries Sheffield around in his pocket whilst the band are on tour. Apparently, whatever you say they are, the Arctic Monkeys are not.

    Meh. Go away already.
  • Stop the Stop the Cavalry

    20 Dic 2005, 14:47

    If you've ever worked in a shop over the festive period you'll know that the only noise worse than Christmas music is the sound of Satan retching. In my case I worked in a small village convenience store during my sixth-form years. In early October each year the radio was switched off and replaced with the same Christmas mix tape that had presumably been purchased by the manager as part of a selection-pack years previously and used annually for three-month periods ever since.

    In a four hour shift it wasn't unknown for Shakin' Stevens to wish everyone a merry Christmas six or more times and Noddy Holder must have been hoarse after all that shouting. Every forty minutes Elton John sent me a Christmas card to say it was nice to have me here. Roy Wood and Wizzard might have wished it could be Christmas every day, but let me tell you, after the just one month of "when the snowman brings the snow" anyone but the most unbreakable characters would be suicidal.

    The only respite available in each three-quarter hour cycle of terror was in the form of Shane and Kirsty's "Fairytale of New York" which was over all too quickly, only to be followed up by Cliff Richard singing about mistletoe, wine and dogs on the fire, or something. Nat King Cole might have sung "I know it's been said many times many ways, merry Christmas to you" but every time he said it, it sounded exactly the fucking same.

    Bing Crosby might have been dreaming about a white Christmas, but to me it just meant that the delivery lorries couldn't get through the snow to the loading bay at the back of the store, so we had to carry everything by hand through the middle of the shop, usually to the sound of his droaning. Throw in a few forgettable but oft repeated tracks like "Stop the Cavalry" and that one by The Waitresses, repeat every forty minutes for three months and watch your staff go slowly insane.

    So spare a thought for all the shop workers this yuletide, because by the time Christmas day itself actually rolls around they'll be growling like Ebeneezer Scrooge with his foot in a man-trap and his backside on fire
  • Flawed Statistics

    19 Dic 2005, 16:43

    “And another thing,” shouted the woman from her car, “there’s not even such thing as the Poissnomial Approximation to the Binormal Distribution.”

    I had been trying to explain to the rather irate lady that if she applied her make up whilst driving every day the probability of her hitting a pedestrian by the end of the month was greater than one hundred percent.

    “There’s no such thing as a probability greater than certainty,” she’d replied.

    So I tried the old “poissnomial approximation” bluff that had worked on at least one occasion before. The Poissnomial Approximation Theorem states that if you toss a coin you have a fifty percent chance of getting a head. So if you toss the coin twice you have two fifty percent chances of getting a head. Or a hundred percent. Or one. Or certainty. But, as you and I know, it is still possible to throw two tails in a row. So it isn’t actual certainty. And that illustrates how despite the mathematics suggesting that nothing can have a probability of greater than one, it is more than possible to have just such a circumstance. Like the probability of throwing a head with three coins, for example (one hundred and fifty percent). “And therefore,” I argued, “probabilities tend to infinity.”

    The woman then replied that she was a statistics teacher and I was talking rubbish. I asked her to prove it so she showed me her badge. They only give those to bona-fide statistics graduates with years of statistic-experience. She had a point too; I was talking rubbish. But I wasn’t going to lose this one.

    “Yeah, well your lipstick doesn’t match your eyeliner,” I shouted as she drove off. “And your car’s shit.”