Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Service Announcement

In response to kind queries as to my well being, I am pleased to report that all is well, I simply do not have anything to say (not that that is normally an impediment).
I started blogging because I wanted to and enjoyed it. I will not allow it to become a necessity.
But, thank you all for your concern. Normal vitriol will return in due course.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where are you going on your holidays this year?

Listening to my good friends on BBC Radio 5 today, I was intrigued to hear them reporting the theories of an exotic gentleman called Erasmus Bjork. He is Danish, but that is no excuse for having such a compelling name. I guess we can discuss this later. We could go down the road of exploring funny names, but let’s leave that for a day when we are really bored. Let me just pause here to report that in the latest edition of that admirable organ “Viz”, someone enquires of Mr Bacon the name of his insurance company “Hadaway an Shite” he retorts. What is their address? One, punch in the fookin mouth street. We don’t want to go there, do we, boys and girls?

So, back to Erasmus. He is saying that the reason that we are not in contact with extra-terrestrials is that it takes too long to find each other. The following is an extract from an article in the Grauniad, a newspaper lacking the political perspicacity of Viz, but not bad if you are really bored.

He found that even if the alien ships could hurtle through space at a tenth of the speed of light, or 30,000km a second, - Nasa's current Cassini mission to Saturn is plodding along at 32km a second - it would take 10bn years, roughly half the age of the universe, to explore just 4% of the galaxy. His study is reported in New Scientist today.

The question is, why bother? Surely our experience here on this tiny planet (Dave has written about smallness today) would lead us to believe that there is an abundance of boring beings within spitting distance of us at any time (I will leave Mr Bjork to do the calculations on the dimensions of spitting distance), so why waste our time searching the universe for others? I spend my working life try to avoid conversations with myriad accountants, consultants and marketers; do I really need to explore the possibility of there being a race of tax auditors a couple of galaxies across, even if they do have three noses? The fact is that none of us have anything worthwhile to say, and most of us manage to devote ours lives to the demonstration of that truth.

Were Star Trek to be made realistic (I am now going into a territory I know little about, I am not a fan of science fiction), then Captain Kirk would be portrayed sipping the national beverage of some small republic on a planet 3.7 light years away discussing the route he took to get their with some boring, fat middle aged alien with a droning voice, an irritating accent and wearing an out of shape cardigan. Star Wars should, to mirror reality, be in the form of a home makeover programme with interesting ideas on how to decorate houses made of helium, and add interest to a garden that has a ground temperature of 208 degrees Celsius.

We should not be asking about finding intelligent life in the universe, but the chances of finding interesting life. Is there a solar system out there somewhere where there are jokes that have not already been round the internet three times?

Not boring you, am I?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Post Script

Please go and read Danny's post today.
A little different from the normal post.
And proof that James Taylor can write songs as well.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My dreams have lost some grandeur coming true

I am not one to waste time quarrelling with old friends about musical taste but dear old Geoff and Betty have taken exception to some fine performers based upon a television programme that I have yet to see.

There are plenty of musicians, from a wide range of genres, whose music I enjoy. As far as I know all of them, with the possible exception of Mississippi John Hurt, have displayed symptoms of twatdom that would put most of us in the shade. Even at my most extreme, I would be pushed to be as tarty as Mick Jagger or as incoherent as Bob Dylan. From all accounts (and perhaps with some justification) Ludwig was a far grumpier old sod than I will ever be, even if someone says “Thatcher”. I enjoy Wagner’s overtures, and ignore his politics. The most recent track I downloaded was by an up and coming beat combo called “Oasis”, who are, without much doubt, a bunch of assholes. I find myself able to enjoy young Mick Jackson’s music without being influenced by his reported personal preferences. I might draw the line if Jeffrey Archer were to produce a single with the quality of, say, “Born to be Wild”, but possibly not.

I began to think that Betty and Geoff had turned into my parents when I read their posts. Although I might be one of theirs, as Betty has proffered the witterings of Mr Bowie as “music”.

Just let me put in some good words for Crosby, Stills and Nash. And James Taylor. And Joni Mitchell.

I don’t want to know much about their lives. I don’t want to change my life for theirs. I don’t want their money, or to shag any of the women they have shagged. Or men. I don’t much care about it.

It is just that for me they represent the mellow end of what was so good about the 60’s. Music that I enjoyed while under the influence of some gentle drugs, and still enjoy today years after the last hallucinogenic chemicals have found their way out of my system. They were only part of it. If I were asked, and as this is my bloody blog, then consider me asked, who was the best songwriter, I would choose Joni Mitchell. I don’t usually bother with the words, I go by the sound of the music. But I have come to the conclusion that Lennon and McCartney had the poetic ability of Keat’s pet squirrel. Bob Dylan concealed his clever bits amongst pretentious codswallop, Paul Simon should have stuck to humming, George Harrison is among the worst. “I look at the floor and see it needs sweeping”. What the fuck? Sweep it then, you dim bastard, and get some 12 year old to write your songs. I listen to all of these people from time to time. I might even sing along if I am sure no one is listening, but none of them have anything to say. Joni, on the other hand, does.

I expect this gets more comments than most posts here. I probably won’t pay much attention to them. You will not change my musical choices, anymore than I will change yours. Tom will still be listening to Val Doonican, Realdoc will be getting down to Matt Monro, and Pamela will be dancing naked in the yard to the tunes of Iron Maiden. Mark, who is back from his enforced absence, will come up with some 18th century blues singer from Malawi called Whispering Keith Jockstrap or some such, at which point I will turn up the Beethoven violin concerto and let you all get on with it.

So, carry on, love is coming. Love is coming to us all.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mark Gamon is on holiday

My dear friend, David Milliband, has added to the list of things that didn’t make me laugh.

According to the BBC:

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said organic food was more of a "lifestyle choice that people can make".

He insisted that food grown with the use of pesticides and other chemicals should not be regarded as inferior.

Well, that’s it for you, New Labour. The party of war, pestilence, famine and death. Not only following Dubya into Iraq with your tongue firmly stuck to his anus, you now come out in favour of the polluters. We don’t want to offend ICI do we? The minister for the environment telling us it is ok to poison the soil. It’s a shame Harold Shipman is not still with us, he would have made a great Health Secretary. Wackford Squeers for Education Minister, anyone?

Mr Milliband (an early contender for asshole of the year)’s statement is so ridiculous that I will not bother to counter it. But, putting on my Tony Blair voice, let me say this, look, Mr Milliband why don’t you sprinkle some DDT and rat poison on your weetabix this morning, you jumped up nazi fuckwit, and do us all a favour.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saturday. No bugger reads it

Some things that made me laugh.

  • From “Overheard in New York
    Tourist fighting his way off the train: Look, people. You actually have to let us out of the train before you can get on.
    Old guy: This is New York, son. A simple 'Fuck you' will do.

  • The “The Thick of It” special. I love satire. For those of you unfortunate enough not to live in the UK, if this programme is eventually broadcast elsewhere in the world, do not miss it. Buy the DVDs when they come out, order it on the internet. Do not miss it, it is more vital than your children’s weddings, more important than your funeral, probably better than sex and that job interview can go screw. The writing is superb, the acting brilliant – they even managed this special without the lead character (the actor playing him is currently embarrassed, let’s hope temporarily), and Peter Capaldi’s performance is good enough to win 3 Oscars, the Eurovision Song Contest, the Ashes, Mr Universe and the “Guess the number of slugs in the bucket” competition at my village fête.

  • “Jam and Jerusalem”. Started slowly and got better each week. The highlight for me was a little cameo by the wonderful Miriam Margolyes as a headmistress attending her local surgery for a smear test, to the embarrassment of the doctor who was a former pupil. As with most of Jennifer Saunders’ writing, almost all of the main characters are female, which gives it a unique flavour.

And I am very sorry about the incident in Sainsbury’s. I would like to take this chance to apologise to the very nice young man who served me this week, and who had probably had his quota of idiots for the day.

NYM : Did you have a nice Christmas and New Year?

Me: Yes, 1958.

NYM: 1958?

Me: Yes, that is the year I had a nice Christmas and New Year.

Not funny or clever. I will go in next week with a paper hat on my head, talk about “all the trimmings”, the queen’s speech and Cliff Richard, and stuff myself with the flesh of murdered animals in commemoration of the birth of baby Jesus.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Yes, yes, alright, I'm here

OK, You can stop nagging now.

I noticed that my dear friend Dave has done one of these little things that get passed around when none of us have anything to write about. I have nothing to write about, so I thought that I would do it. But no, he has set a trap, asking about the composition of the alphabet.

This alphabet was designed by fucking consultants. Too many consonants and too few vowels. Bastards. This alphabet was the cause of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Forget Alaric the Visigoth and forget Caligula. The place was too fucking big to administer with inadequate documentation. There has been a singular lack of consensus on how my name is pronounced, or how the frigging Romans would have pronounced it. No bugger knows, and no bugger knew, because the alphabet was insufficiently unambiguous. So, eventually, they couldn’t find their way around, because no bugger knew how to pronounce the place names.

Hindi is a completely phonetic language. This is why there are more people per square mile in India than in Europe. When Inderjit says “I fancy a shag”, there is no possible confusion as to his meaning. There is only one way to spell it, and no alternative as to how to pronounce it. Hindi has shit loads of vowels. Had I chosen a Hindustani sobriquet, there would be no doubt as to its pronunciation.

Hey, you Americans, how would you pronounce “Loughborough”? That’s right, the spelling makes no sense whatsoever. Or whatsoevah, if you want the limey version. And don’t get so high and mighty, you rebellious lot. See how many of you pronounce “literally” as “lidderally”, and then you can feel free to criticise those of us who fail to roll our r’s. Pause for Pete and Dud zoo sketch.

So bollocks to the A to Z.

A – for alphabet. Shove it up your ass.

Will that do for now?