Friday, November 18, 2005

I know no-one cares except me, but I just clocked my internet connection at 244 kbs. I dunno where this stands in a global sense, but it's pretty damn good for UK cable.

And that gives me a happy.

Monday, October 31, 2005

So I went to the wedding. And despite all my dire predictions I actually enjoyed myself. Don't think I embarrassed myself, though I did accidentally give my Dad a vision from hell - c 9am appearing at the door of my room wearing only a pair of pants, last night's shirt and a tie knotted somewhere around my shoulder, hair by Crazy Meg of Bedlam, Hell.

Yesterday I had the WORST HANGOVER OF ALL TIME. Still, if you will stay up till 6am drinking single malt what can you expect . . . ack. Seriously thought I was going to die last night, and am still feeling a bit ack.

Never again.

Beautiful venue tho, albeit in the middle of nowhere. Literally.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

So I finally got caught up on series one of Veronica Mars which you can only get on Region 1 at the moment.

Some things I'll never understand. You have the best show that's appeared in years and does the BBC pick it up - No. How about C4. Nope. Sky, even? Keep guessing. No Veronica Mars was consigned to Living. Now Living actually has some good shows. OK, it has Veronica Mars and The L Word, but those are both pretty much cream of the crop US wise at the moment, so all power to them, but it's still a shame. Put it this way, while most people who have cable will have Living it's not exactly the kind of channel people rush to programme into their favourites list. In fact I have more reach standing on my roof frisbeeing cardboard head shots of Percy Daggs III off it than Living do.

But what can you do.

Anyhoo, I LUrve Veronica Mars - sure didn't see that series finale coming. Naturally due to the retarded nature of things around here this is still only available in Region 1 but trust me - it's worth it. In fact it's worth buying a multi region DVD player (should you be in the 0.001% of people wo haven't done this already) just to watch this programme.

In fact I'm kinda wondering what is going on with the PTB and their purchasing policies. As far as I can see they majors in this market (BBC & C4) and the minors (ITV & Five) seem to be following a policy of only purchasing what's *popular* rather than making a subjective decision based on their own opinions and buying what's good. So we end up with Lost, 24 (again) and Gray's Anatomy (which is actually wuote good) whilst V.Mars, The L Word and Dead Again (before it got cancelled anyway) are sentenced to the televisual equivalent of Paperboys 11.

Which kinda seems like missing a trick. Nobody knows why some shows just take off and some don't. Look at Dawson's - a non stop fiesta of nausea indusing shite and it was the most popular thing ever. Now given that as a rule 'buzz' does not travel particularly well from one country to another it seems odd to take a shit show which for some unaccountable reason has 'buzz' and spend a fortune recreating it for the UK market, when you could buy a much cheaper show, promote it properly and it'll create it's own buzz. That way people get to watch good shows which cost the networks over here less instead of expensive horse manure.

I just don't understand. And if that's the last time I write that sentence I'll be surprised.

So my doom draws ever closer. What can I say . . . in Serbian there's a word that's used when your relatives force you to eat too much because it's an insult to refuse food. It tanslates as 'Food Terror' It's a pity there isn't a word for Wedding Terror. Ho hum.

Anyway, just cooked a lunch that is so incredibly hot the leftovers are making my eyes water from 4 feet away :-

1 x bunch spring onions
3 x garlic cloves
1 x juice of a lime
1 x golf ball sized piece of fresh HOT ginger, finely chopped
2 x handful prawns
1 x Scotch Bonnet chile

My God . . . .

Anyway, you certainly wouldn't want to eat that lot and then perform an act of great intimacy. Scorchio.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm so depressed I can hardly even summon the energy to blog. Not only did I get turned down for a job after and hour and 40 minute interview, they even had the gall to write this :-
Thank you very much for coming in to meet the team here at XXX. As much as
we enjoyed meeting you and thought that you are a capable candidate with
good experience in Taxonomy, we did feel that your strength lies in a more
hands on role and as such we did not feel that you were quite right for our
Taxonomy Manager position which requires a mix of hands on and
managerial/strategic skills.
I suppose they're entitled to their view but I'd be more willing to accept it if they'd actually asked me anything managerial/strategic. 100 minutes of detailed technical questions to which of course I knew more answers than they'd ever even heard of. Cunts. And as for that line 'good experience in Taxonomy' I've forgotten more about taxonomy than those twats will ever know. Actually I don't know why I blanked out their name. Feel free to send them something offensive here.

As you can see I don't take rejection well. And speaking of which - it's not just me, I have scientifically proved this by having recently been rejected on a truly Olympian scale.

That's it I am officially going to die alone and be eaten by Alsations. You can only keep kidding yourself that everything's going to work out in the end for so long before you just have to accept that it's most likely not going to. And even worse than that I'm going to my cousin's wedding next week. That may not sound terrible, but it is. First up, I HATE weddings. The whole cheesy queasy repetitive obnoxious bullshit makes me sick to my stomach, and here's one where I won't even know anyone. Except my fucking family. Holy Christ.

Maybe I'm being too cynical. Perhaps I'll meet the love of my life.

Yeah. Like that's going to happen

Monday, October 17, 2005

I'm looking forward to the Tory party election. Let's face it, the only candidate about whom Labour will be even slightly concerned is Ken Clarke, and it looks like he's for the chop.

It looks, incredibly, like the Tories are going to lurch even further to the right, which is good in making them even more unelectable, but bad in that then allows Labour to do even more of it's crazy shit . . .

Fucking funny anyway . . . someone once said that the Labour Party 1983 manifesto was the longest suicide note in history . . . now look whos talking. We're 8 years into the New Labour revolution, and what are the Tories doing - electing DD.

This is the equivalent of Labour electing, ooh, er, Derek Hatton as leader in 1987.

Morons, your bus is leaving ;-)

Friday, October 14, 2005


It's been a busy couple of weeks - I've been carbo loading on culture. Weds week went off to the ENO to see The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, and this after going to The Garden to see La Funcella Del West week before. Anyway, it was a hideous train wreck (Bitter Tears that is). Which is a shame because the story is pretty good, but who can take 3 hours of monotone stacatto sung speech and a jingly jangly 'modern' score that at no point showed the slightest sign of actually breaking into a song.


Been eating a lot of big grown up dinners lately - went to Fino on Saturday. This place has picked up some bad reviews but I really couldn't fault it. Excellent service, beautiful space, great food, tasty vino, but at £25 quid a bottle you expect something quite palatable. For me the high points were the lamb, the clams, the fillet of beef and the pigs cheeks, which were spectacular. Honourable mentions also to the octopus, the bruscetta and the salted chiles. There was some other stuff I didn't bother eating as well : omelette, salad, that sort of thing and the squid was a bit overcooked but you can't win em all. Overall : excellent.

Last night went to meet Hari for a quick one at the god awful Fire Station, as Waterloo is the most convenient for both of us. After a quick pint standing on a major thoroughfare in the pissing rain which was vaguely reminiscent of a low rent Mega City 1 she suggested we repair round the corner to this little Eastern European place she knows. So we pitch up at bloody Baltic and get stuck into another serious gastronomic and alcoholic experience. Had some fantastic smoked eel with bacon and then some sort of mystery meat claiming to be veal sweetbreads. Don't know what it really was but wasn't much like a gland with the taste and consistency of chicken crossed with blancmange, that's for sure. Couple of beers each, bottle of decent plonk, couple extra glasses, couple of cocktails, espressos, extra fags and it's suddenly £120 of your earth currency units. Still, money well spent, though next time might pick my main course a bit more carefully. Hari was looking particularly charming in her new lace up fuck-me boots, sort of like a cross between a slightly world weary Katy Holmes and HBC in Fight Club. Only hopefully not germinating Tom Cruise's demon seed.

And what's all that about? What's wrong with the woman. It's beyond all sense isn't it? I'm not sure who she should be going out with, YT excluded, but I know she could do a fuck of a lot better than fucking Maverick. Jeeezuz.


In a bizarre form of self flagellation and in the hope of coming to some understanding about all this I watched Dawson's Creek season one, and what the world already knows was only too clearly demonstrated. Pacey & Joey : funny and cool. Jen : highly slapable, but you'd probably still go there. Dawson : fugly munter who should be terminated with totally unnecessary excessively bloody force immediately. There is no way on this earth that two 'hotties' (ugh) like Jen & Joey would hurl themselves at this self absorbed idiot who has, to quote, got an e.t. doll on his desk. I can only assume that the original writer was in some way trying to re-invent his own adolescence, the way it played out in his head not reality, where girls really do want to go out with sensitive withdrawn wimps instead of muscle bound, hard drinking, dope smoking idiots. Idiots with cars.

Also an award for the silliest diaolgue of all time : episode twelve (The Beauty Contest)

Jen : Why is it that every time I pay you a compliment you act like I'm hitting on you?
Joey : I dunno. It just feels weird I guess. I mean, I know I'm not pretty.


I realise I'm about 10 years too late to be getting into a strop about Dawson's creek, but, hey, so what. And even though it drives me crazy it really shows up junk like The O.C. for the rather shoddy fare it really is. Still . . . .

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I've been watching Hex lately and I've really been enjoying it. OK, it's very derivative, mostly of Buffy but that's not a big problem. Hex is set in an English boarding school and is about the usual girl (Cassie : the ever lovely Christina Cole ) who comes into mysterious poweres etc etc, and despite being as fit as you like is generally derided as a nutcase outcast :

The usual selection of oddballs are here in fairly predictable proportions, but because this is England and meant for an English audiance we can actually say it like it is, so for example everyone drinks, everyone smokes, and everyone has sex, be they good, bad or teacher, which is a lot closer to reality than yer average tv prog. Plus in Roxanne and Leon we have a traditional pair of Queen Bitch and Nasty Rich Kid Psycho who are genuinely mean, vile and threatening :-

This is a fairly standard line from Leon after a spot of opportunistic sexual assault :-

"You want to be careful Cassie. If you don't get a good oiling soon, you'll rust shut."

The only problem is that they only made 6 episodes in the first season, and 6 in the second! I mean what the fuck is the point of that! How can you have a season with only 6 episodes. I dunno. Fawlty Towers only had 6 episodes per season, but that was a) A work of comic genius (yawn) and b) The 1970s rather than an enjoyable but totally derivative piece of teen horror fluff.

And it didn't have any totally gratuitous shower and lesbian scenes.

Trust me, you really don't want these two picking you out of the crowd.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fucking Bollocking Ball Bag Gym. Fucker.

I don't know why I even bother going. I mean it makes no difference anyway. All I'm doing is shedding £55 a month and not the good pounds either.

Lunch today : a quite revolting salad of my own concoction : Cous cous, tomatoes, celery, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pigeon breasts. Sounds good, but trust me, it didn't really work. And I had a Vanilla Coke - diet naturally, but still inherently EVIL.

American Socialists

I was just thinking about why American's keep electing Republicans even though it's so patently not in their own best interests, and realised that Gramsci had his finger on the button 100 years ago. This from Wiki explaining Cultural Hegemony :-
Gramsci argued that the failure of the workers to make anti-capitalist revolution was due to the successful capture of the workers' ideology, self-understanding, and organizations by the hegemonic (ruling) culture. In other words, the perspective of the ruling class had been absorbed by the masses of workers. In "advanced" industrial societies hegemonic cultural innovations such as compulsory schooling, mass media, and popular culture had indoctrinated workers to a false consciousness. Instead of working towards a revolution that would truly serve their collective needs (according to Marxists), workers in "advanced" societies were listening to the rhetoric of nationalist leaders, seeking consumer opportunities and middle-class status, embracing an individualist ethos of success through competition, and/or accepting the guidance of bourgeois religious leaders.
And that pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as I can see. So where does that get us? Absolutely nowhere unfortunately. Let's face it, you can probably be arrested for reading Gramsci in the Red States these days. And that's not a joke. It could come under the heading of 'programme related activity' (bad thoughts). After all, if hanging around by the side of a road looking a bit hairy can get you unlimited detention in Guantanamo Bay who knows what reading a book by a revolutionary socialist (and an Italian to boot) would get you? Death by public stoning perhaps?

Of course it doesn't help that many recent immigrants to the USA only have decadent and corrupt governments to compare the US experience with and so are only too happy to vote for the party that says it's going to leave them alone the most. Of course the way US politics is going at the moment there'll soon be little real difference between Congress and The Democratic Republic of South Backscratcher.

Don't believe me - read up on just where elected representatives are getting their bribes from these days.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Gymocological Anomoly

There are 58 machines in the cardio room at my gym. Only 4 of them are steppers. Today there were 6 people in the room - 3 women on respectively a cycle and two treadmills, and 3 blokes, all of us lined up like ducks in a row on the steppers.

Fortunately that's where the similarity ended. One was about 185 years old and looked like he was about to keel over at any moment, one was a sort of beardy goth metellar type and of course then there was the Noble Panster.

61 storeys and every last one climded listening to C&W : Alisson Krauss, Dolly, The Dixie Chicks, Brad Paisley . . . is there no end to my crimes.

Now that everything is cleaned up my desk seems strangely empty. Because I'm used to being so hemmed in and now I've tidied everything away and moved what's left around I can't touch type properly. You get used to the visual location of the screen and the gubbins around it to know where to place your fingers. When all that changes it takes, well, about as long as it took to type this paragraph to get used to the new set up.

I've been having some sort of Autumn spring clean over the last couple of weeks and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The books, CDs, DVDs, games, pictures and hardware were easy, all the fluffy stuff less so. Everything I don't wear anymore is now safely boxed away to be taken to the charity shop at some point, and everything else is either racked (shirts, jackets, waistcoats, trousers and suits), placed in drawers (socks, underwear) or sitting in clean/non clean piles (t-shirts, jeans, shorts, towels, linen, jumpers).

But don't get me started on ties, belts, gloves, hats, scarves, sock suspenders, spats and combinations. Not to mention knick-knacks, momentos, gee-gaws, souvenirs, tat, rubbish and bibelots. Alright , I made some of those up, but the problem really is what to do with all the miscellaneous stuff. A big pile of towels, 24 books on architecture and 200 CDs : no problem. A pair of wooly mittens, a jar of loose screws and a badge saying "Radio B92 NAD BEOGRADAM" : what the fuck am I meant to do with that??

Life really does reflect taxonomy in this wayl. The gross bulk of stuff is straightforward enough to categorise, but it's all to easy to end up with a huge file / box, just marked 'miscellaneous' if you're not careful.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

fuck it i going to drink nore. i deserve it

wow! bizarre. 10 hours after and the hand still isn't reallu working. I can tyoe again, and certainly hold conversations on the phone, but I'm still fucked.

I can feek ahooting and cramping pains running up my arm, It's not normal.

is 11 too early to go to the bottle shop?


i have no ideq about what that post of a few moenets a gowas. about the special bloke, but yezs it seemd eal like he was really there. it's all disappearing now, baoutlie 9HOPERFULLY TE PATRALUYTSIS)


the wo furthest fingers away on my left hand will not lift upa nuy more

npt goof,

wat thse fuck did i do.

get occasional feelins of blood ciculation in forearm but that's abt it

lwft fiddle finger will now lift off of flT PLANEW AGIN

left forearm now feeling very . . active

can i drink moer noe>

t's t`ksn me twwenty minutes to write this pozt. i woke up amd myu lwft hnnd has gone aw`ay. but his worst thing is that i've lost my best friend,

seroiudlyy. when ii woke up i yough thertrs waws a bloke ftawlking to me aboutbnhings like in that fiolm. it soiundszsa funny but it;s bot rdeally.

it m`wkes it fuxking hafed to type `aanyway

i `reaally have overdone it

im 3very scared

Monday, September 26, 2005

I cooked a bitching risotto this evening - just suddenly seemed like the kind of comfort food I needed. Didn't buy anything special, just rummaged through the veggie rack, the store cupboard and the fridge to see what was at hand and made it up as I went.

Here's what was in it :-

1 x fine chopped red onion
1 x grated carrot
2 x fine chopped sticks of celery
200g risotto rice
olive oil
800c vegetable stock
1 x large shredded home made sun dried tomato
3 x shredded white anchovy fillets
2 x large cloves garlic
¼ chile
1 x zest of a lemon
½ x juice of a lemon
40g butter
2 x large handfuls of prawns.
60g grated manchego
40g butter
salt & pepper to taste
basil leaves to dress

MMmmmm mmmmm. Surprisingly delicious what with the whole seafood-cheese thing going on.


I finally got round to writing my CV. I'm always amazed when I read it because on paper I'm completely kick ass. And there aren't even any lies on there, a couple of evasions and a healthy dose of making the most of it, but nothing that isn't basically valid that I can't back up.

And I read as the baddest Information Architect in the Goddam universe. It's just a shame I'm such a fuck up in real life.

Fucked up

Spent the whole weekend in bed. This is because I went out Friday and threw caution to the wind. I was supposed to be going out to dinner on Saturday, but it was all I could do to keep the dry heaves down. Plus the hyperventilating, the paranoia the racing heartrate, and what feels suspiciously like gout as well. What a catch I am.

And speaking of which I'm looking forward to watching what sounds like it's going to be a thoroughly exploitative piece of chav TV tomorrow - Inside Britain's Fattest Man. It's good to watch such things simply so you can have a good sneer at the unfortunate victim subject whilst at the same time wondering just how well your own internal organs would really match up in a head to head.

At least I did think that until I read this, in the fucking Mirror of all unholy places :- "Girlfriend Debs reports that all is well in the bedroom department. 'There's less room in bed, but more to get hold of,' she reports". (Their sub-editing not mine.)

So even Barry Austin, 36, 700lbs (down from his competition weight of 900lbs) and who drinks 20-40 pints in a session has a girlfriend.

Kill me now.

Over designed

I was walking past Busaba Eathai on Store Street a couple of days ago and saw that they had done away with anything so prosaic as a printed menu and had installed a push button electronic version instead :-

Which frankly I think is a bit excessive. Despite it's good reviews this is a very standard sort of a place - nothing is going to surprise, shock or particularly disappoint either. It's all very much by the numbers, so what's with the digital menu?

Friday, September 23, 2005


I've worked out what it is about the gym that stinks. It's me. Or at the very least my shorts. I'm not a particularly sweaty kind of bloke in normal life, but the gym really brings out the inner sweater in me. Put it this way, if I was wearing a normal cotton t-shirt then the only bits which might not be 3 tones darker and wringing wet after an hour would be a couple of hemispheres over the hips. Not nice.

So to counteract this I bought a bunch of sweat-away, perspo-wick space-fabric exercise gear that claims to be made out of butterfly wings or something and doesn't show the sweat. And if you're paying £22.95 for a t-shirt you can screw up into something the size of a golf ball, so it bloody should. And it does. It doesn't feel any nicer, but it doesn't show and after washing takes about ½ an hour to dry.

The only problem is the shorts. They're clean, I'm clean, but about 1 hour 15 minutes in they start to develop an odour that I can only describe as quite repellant. I'm assuming it's some sort of chemical reaction between the Nike Dri-Fit Polyester® and Pan Sweat®. So ladies, if you want to buzz me at the gym I suggest you get in early, cos otherwise it's not going to be a delight or a joy.


Why aren't goats prouder of themselves and more generally celebrated? I mean they are pretty cool really. I must weigh a good 50% more than this guy, and I haven't got any horns to speak of at all :-

If I had a pair like him, you'd know about it I can tell you. How kicking would that be . . .

Don't ask me why I've been going around taking pictures of goats, just accept it ok. And to prove there's nothing wrong with me, here's a pictue of a Llama :-

Friday, September 16, 2005

Charming Estonians

God it's lovely after Joanna's been - the fridge smells like a summer meadow, the kitchen is devoid of dirty crockery, the carpets are hoovered, the cushions on the sofa are plumped., the bath is sparkling . . . heaven, basically.

Actually I think I might be developing a slight thing for her. Her acne's cleared up wonderfully, though she is still (unsurprisingly) a good inch or so taller than me, so it's swings and roundabouts really . . .


After the gym I went to Waitrose, the most lovely supermarket known to mankind. No really, there is no actual full sized supermarket chain (I'm excluding micro chains like Fresh and Wild) anywhere. It's way better in quality than the biggies (Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisson's, Asda - in decreasing order of loveliness) and it has a proper variety of ingredients, other than, say, M&S, which is great, but is all about food assembly really.

It is however, a little bit on the spenny side. Here's Pan's shopping :-

The Guardian0.60
Goats Milk Semi-Skim 1L1.19
Badoit Sparkling Water0.92
Apple & Elderflower Juice 1L1.45
Tomato Juice 1L1.45
Beefsteak Tomatoes2.75
Pigeon Breasts4.29
Fresh Rosemary0.75
Anchovy Fillets2.99
Coubtry Loaf2.50

£24.71 on what for fucks sake - nearly 3 quid on tomatos, and there weren't that many of them. £2.50 on a loaf of bread. I mean it's good bread, better, it's fantastic bread, but still, bread at £5/Kg, I ask you.

Not going to stop me shopping there though. At least the mackerel was cheap.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


God I was *so* angry yesterday, and I can't figure out why . . . must be some sort of chemical thing. Maybe I'm hormonal . . .


Did two hours at the gym today, very hard going. I really stank by the end of it - lovely.


Yesterday I was complaining about the mundanity of other people's blogs, but people in glass houses shouldn't throw stone, I mean I'm blogging about my laundry and goint to the gym ffs.


Tomorrow I'm going on a boat.


You'd think I'd have learnt by now that if you happily eat your way through a pint and a half of lentils a significant proportion of them are going to be corporally eliminated in gasceous form. Just nobody smoke, OK.


Pan has gone laundry mad. I can't stop doing it, but more keeps coming out of the wordwork / vast 6 box laundry basket. When it's all done I'll post you some lovely pictures. Actually it's not the doing of the laundry that turns me on, it's the ordered rows of socks and pants and t-shirts you gain along the way, instead of crumpled bags of shit. Does that make me autistic? Definitely borderline. Timmmyyyy!!


The Guardian and The Observer have been great supporters of blogging for some time, but something about their reportage rubs me up the wrong way. It's partly that the blogs they eulogise claiming hundreds or thousands of daily readers seem to me to be no better than my own (readership : 3 on a good day) or indeed many, even the majority of other blogs out there. It's partly the way they seem to present getting a lot of readers and peer recognition as a sort of goal that bloggers per se are aiming at. I suppose it's partly inevitable that journalists, even with the best will in the world, find it hard to understand that many bloggers genuinely don't care who or how many people are reading their blog. Ok, they understand this point intellectually, but they still don't 'get it'. It's weird.

On the subject of blogs I've been reading them for a long time, and have come to the conclusion that there is little correlation between the interestingness of a blog, it's quality, and how many people read it. I mean I never particularly saw what was special about Belle de Jour but now it's bigger than Jesus. But I'm probably in a minority there. Some of the bitterest, funniest, most entertaining blogs seem to get no readers at all, whereas another that springs to mind (and this is just an example of many) is so unbearably dull that I have sometimes wonderd if it was a piss take. A red letter day entry would read something like this :-
Had to pick up Jill's dry cleaning so didn't get to my desk till nearly 8.15. Tchuh - slacking! Got the 'tricky' deposition done and had lunch with Mike and Darren from Corporate .They've both been billing some big hours on the TV takeover thing and are super stoked. Go Guys! Picked up some milk at the station on my way home - by the way I've found that the 7.56 is a bit more reliable than the 7.35, so I've been aiming for this one lately. The guy didn't have my regular 2 pint semi skimmed so I got a pint of skimmed to tide me over. Anyway I got home about eight thirty and Jill came over to pick up her laundry. We got chinese and watched Friends. It was nice.
But it never has less than 30 posts in the comment section. Every day!! JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU DRIVEL SPEWING DULLARD. I know it's super childish to poke fun/paper bags full of dog shit at other people, and especially my fellow bloggers. After all, shouldn't we all be supporting each other and displaying solidarity within the blogosphere, and hey, if I don't like it I don't have to read it, right? But that's not the point. These numpties seem to be enjoying bovine success and satisfaction in everything they do from writing a memo to getting a new 'super hot' partner, and boy do they seem happy to write about their interior dialogue-free lives. Of course there aren't any rules for writing a blog, and of course there shouldn't be either, but surely, surely blogs written by people with even the slightest smattering of self awareness are more interesting than the people who report their stress, anger and rage free lives like they were detailing how to construct a self-assembly wardrobe.

And the bit that I really can't bear is that most people seem happier to read this shit than interesting blogs. And by interesting blogs I mean mine.

Of course the alternative solution is that they're all correct and this blog really is boring. But that can't be right. Can it? Basically I just don't like blogs written by happy well adjusted people. If you're that fucking content why not piss off and have some more cats or whatever it is you do and stop boring the living crap out of me? I don't want to read about how you are having a great time and everything is peachy. I want to read that the bailiffs came round, reposessed your scabby flea infested home (which all the same was all you had), threw all your stuff onto the pavement and a huge bag of porn split open in front of a bus full of 10 year olds. From the school where you teach. Well, taught, because when the head hears about this, you're never going to work in this town again. Or any other for that matter.

But my all number time pet hate number one loathing is saved for people who write about how simply divine, how wonderful, how uniquely fantastic their partners are, and what a lucky, blessed boy/girl they are to have them. Especially when 3 months before they were writing about someone else in exactly the same way and will have most likely be moving on again soon. I'm reaching for my pills just writing that line above.

Of course I do have some self awareness and my interior monologue dialog is only too strong. By the way that strikeout is not an affection I did genuinely write 'interior monologue' the first time round. How Freudian. Anyway, all that self knowledge tells me that this particular diatribe is fulled pretty much 100% by jealousy, and jealousy of all those people out there for whom life seems an entirely effortless exercise. The important question you have to ask youself is this :
"Are you jealous of them because

a) they have loving partners and wildly exciting sex lives, meaningful careers, tax efficient saving plans, low cost mortgages and never go more than 6 months without a dental check up whilst you are very much no longer young, very much alone, a cigarette paper away from destitution, and are no more likely to change your life around than you are to grow wings and fly up Alvin Stardust's bell-bottom, or

b) their blogs get more hits than yours?
I'm just having a bad day. Normal service will be resumed at some future point, no doubt. And yes I am aware that my last 2 posts were about cauliflower cheese and hanging the washing out. And, yes, some 'I'm a happy camper' blogs are pretty good, I read them and I like them.

But most of them aren't, so stop being so fucking literal and look at the bigger picture, alright?

Buggering bollocking ball-bag bollocks. Oh fuck it all.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bastard gym.

God - it's all a bit of an imposition isn't it? Not only does gym dude make you do an hour and a half multi train nightmare which leaves you wondering if you're going to vomit then die, or whether it's possible to die and then throw up, he then tells you that a) you have really weak abs & glutes and b) your general fitness is shockingly low and he's both surprised and diappointed and c) (and this is the real kicker) what you really need is a personal trainer.

Whatever happend to a spot of gentle encouragement? You know something along the lines of 'well done', 'good work' that sort of thing. If I wanted to be told I was a disgrace to mankind and no stronger than a kitten with osteoporosis I would have joined the bloody army, wouldn't I.

And you have to pay £6/month extra if you want towels. Which seems a bit steep if you're already shelling out £49/month. Which I know isn't that much gym wise, but still . . .

It's the quadruple whammy of feeling like shit, paying through the nose, being told you're a big sack of lard and then being expected to pay for towels as well that gets me. Tchhuh.

I'm just feeling grumpy because the gym regime is kicking in again and I'm at the worst stage. It will get better. Probably.

Cheese Sauce

Yesterday I cooked cauliflower cheese comfort food. It may have looked like shit :-

but it was utterly delicious. Trick to making a delicious and smooth white sauce - heat the milk with some finely chopped challotes, pink peppercorns and a baylief before passing it through a strainer and adding it to the butter and flour emulsion, and then cook it very slowly and keep stirring. Add the cheese very finely grated at the end and then stir in to make sure it's properly melted in, Make sure that the fat doesn't seperate out by keeping stirring and using a very low heat.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

So yet again the England cricket team are putting us through the ringer. Honestly, it's like having teeth pulled. I can hardly watch. And it's only going to get worse.

Thank Christ it's turning into a traditional English summer and pissing it down :-

I just wish I'd remembered to take the washing in.

Though as I got home about 4am last night in something of a state and found half my flat and a bunch of their friends still up and e'd off there heads, no-one was in a fit state to do anything, let alone take the washing in.

There were some very unhappy campers this morning, myself included. Sore heads all round. Got to go and do it all over again in an hour and half as well. Ack.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This has taken me bloody ages so far, and it's still far from perfect. Maybe I should just pretend that the inconsistencies are deliberate - artistic, like.

Nothing wrong with the composition or the original elements, it's just the execution that's a bit dodgy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Went to Greenwich with my Godson on Monday. Lovely day out and took many photos, none of which came out properly. One that's not too bad :-

Monday, September 05, 2005


If someone put four boiled eggs in front of you it would seem like quite a lot, wouldn't it? But if you make scrambled eggs with 4 eggs, plus of course butter and milk, then it doesn't seem like much at all does it?


As you can guess I just ate 4 eggs worth of scrambled eggs on toast. I was going to have bacon as well, but it appeared to have some sort of mould growing on it. Now I'm pretty much as adventurous with food as it's usual to get, certainly I wouldn't think twice about cutting some mould off a piece of fruit or a slice of bread, and cheese of course is meant to be mouldy. But bacon? I mean it looked like it would rinse right off, it's only been there a coupla weeks and it smelled OK . . . but I binned it anyway. It's a shame because you can see what delicious organic free range fatty bacon it was - check out the marbling.

Am I being unnecessarily lily livered about this or was it a wise decision? Hard to say isn't it.

Or am I completely losing what marbles I ever posessed?


I haven't had a fag for approximately 140 hours and the desperation is starting to show. Be strong young Jedi, you can defeat the dark side, although frankly I'm feeling more like Chandler at the moment : Ye Gods dark mother, let me suckle once more at your smoky teat.

Planet Mars

I've really been enjoying the UPN syndicated show Veronica Mars , but I have a couple of issues. The first is fairly minor. I posted a few days ago about how American teenagers all seem to have huge beds, but Veronica Mars was the exception, but I'm afraid I was rather jumping the gun. What kind of a father buys his daughter a water bed I ask myself? No normal one that's for sure. I've actually only watched about half the episodes, so perhaps this too is going to come back and bite me in the ass . . .

The second is about the weird lighting policy on the show. I mean it's one thing to go for eerily realistic, but there are limits . . . I supposes it doesn't help that leading lady Kristen Bell, (referred to by Jonathan Bernstein in the Guardian as "an actress so slight she looks like a bowel movement might break her in half") has all the natural flesh tones of a two day old cadaver, but still, they really should learn to use a light meter or invest in a tiny amout of post production :-

As she appears on the show :-

After a little colour correction from Pan.

Other than that it's a great show.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

And still the boy can't sleep. I've now been awake for, like forever. It's driving me nuts.

Cocteau Twins

In a vain attempt to rectify this I've been sorting out my iPod which included listening to some albums I haven't listened to for, er, dunno, a long long time. 15 years minimum. One that is still utterly fantastic is Treasure by the ever wonderful Cocteau Twins. I can't believe I've left it so long without listening to this - it's just superb.

Weird, lovely, beautiful. Nothing comes close, go buy it. Go on. GO ON.

No, really, I mean it.


Lemon flavoured yoghurt shouldn't work should it? But it does. I've just eaten 4 of them so I should know.

Missing, presumed satiated.

My flatmate hasn't been home in 3 days and hasn't been answering her phone. My other flatmate made the interesting observation that by the time you start wondering where people are if anything has happened to them they've already been turned tableaux vivant a la J-L0 :-

or married off to Satan like Mia Sara :-

or more prosaically converted into economy meat pies :-

So what's the point in worrying about them?

Absent flatmate was kind enough to send us an email eventually so at least we know she's not a human shaped outline on the M25 somewhere. Actually I wasn't worried in the least as I was pretty certain I knew where she was all along but other flatmate seems strangely put out. I think it's got more to do with some people swanning off and having a lot of high octane sex with people they've only just met and leaving certain other flatmates sitting at home on the couch with no one to play with than anything else.

Still, 3 days without a change of clothes - that's a hell of a walk of shame.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I wasn't going to talk about this. After all, what do I know that no-one else does, but I somehow got dragged in anyway.


My friend who is on some sort of beach/blonde/sex/alcohol holiday in Turkey texted me to say : "What the fuck is going on in America?"

I was assuming that her question was more than a general enquiry and this turned out to be the case as evidenced by her follow up text : "Oh my god! They're treated like 3rd world country. Just caught a snippet on CNN in the hostel."

P'raps not the most pc way of presenting the information, but I think you get her drift. It was quite hard to come up with a suitable reply in the text format, but in the end I settled for : "Usual madness - no one gives a damn about anyone else until it's too late."

OK, not exactly a towering feat of analysis, but better than the average journalistic response which seems to be "Wow - no one knows what to do and they've all gone goddam crazy". Closely followed by "someone (but not me - preferrably the govermint) should do something." In some sense I have some sympathy for George W. I mean not as much as I have for the people who are now dead / homeless and who didn't vote for the jackass in the first place [ U.S. House - Louisiana District 2 - William J. Jefferson * (D) 172,931 (79%), Arthur "Art" L. Schwertz (R) 46,029 (21%) (Washington Post) and by the way, finding that information was not that easy - getting the raw data was simple, but how to find out which district is which? Get a map of Louisiana, get a congressional district map, and mentally lay one on top of the other - doesn't seem to have ever occurred to anyone to simply point out that District 2 is New Orleans.] But sympathy for Bush anyway.

I mean what exactly did people expect him to do? There's a city mayor, a govenor, senators, congressmen, how come this is his fault? As far as I can see he stood up in November 2004 and basically said : "We're a big bunch of red in tooth and claw, survival of the fittest, rugged individualist, tax dodging good old boys, and if you have to fuck your neighbour to get by, well that's just nature ain't it" and America said "Yup - like the sound of that!"

Well nature has now spoken and oh, what a surprise, the neighbours are fucked. Please don't get me wrong - the result would have been the same with a democrat in charge. It's not about who's competent or not, although being a little quicker off the mark might have helped Bush, and having a touch for public opinion less like the touch of a paedophile for a toddler would have helped him even more. Basically it's this - if you're going to spend your life driving SUVs, voting for massive military spending and at the same time demanding lower taxes and cutting all federal aid programmes, then poor people are going to get fucked. Sorry. You can do all the hand wringing after the event you like, but there it is.

So what is America going to learn from this. My prediction - absolutley fucking nothing. Sure there's going to be an enormous media driven public wallowing in bathetic sentiment, the homeless will this time be fished out of the briny, the levees will be rebuilt, compensation of some sort will be paid, and everyone will start slapping themselves on the back about how after a shaky start the great American spirit of 'can do' and the 'collective will of the great State of Lousiana' triumphed in the face of adversity blah blah-blah forces of evil blah-blah drill for oil in Alaska blah blah-blah blah-blah blah-fucking-blah.

But nothing's really going to change. The next time this happens it'll be somewhere else, and the same shit'll go down - crumbling infrastructure, underfunded public services, a terrified, disenfranchised and alienated underclass stuck in the middle while politicians go on about how driving a car that uses more fuel than a 500 person village in India is their inalienable birth right, conferred by God and protected by the American constitution. And, after all, everyone seems to buy into it - this belief in the American Dream, this insane faith that maybe next year you too can be one of the haves rather than the have nots. Better to live in poverty the rest of your life with a 1 in 10,000 chance of making it big than settle for what can be achieved for everyone right now. And if I do make it big, well that's just God telling me he approves of my choices - "Hey all you people, get back in line and keep dreaming, cos if you stop all the asshole millionaires might have to start working for a living!"

I'm not saying anyone else would have done better, 2 inches of snow is enough to throw us off track over here - but seriously; you guys are really going to have to start looking after eachother a bit better, or this is just going to keep on happening.

OK enough already

Pan is suffering from The Plague. Don't know what it is, but it's not nice - can't sleep, aches, temperature, sneezing, can't swallow, some sort of dumb virus anyway. Nothing too bad . . . am living on hot dogs and lemsip. I love lemsip. I prefer the blackcurrant kind, but it's incredibly hard to get hold of . . . why? Anyway, last night in my fevered state I dreamt that Abraham Lincoln appeared to me as a dancing telephone on an enormouse typewriter made out of teeth. Please tell me there's a rationale for that. I also dreamt that the tube system had gone crazy and had started growing all kind of extra little branches. Weird.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sometime the most asanine queries float to the top of my head, totally unrelated to anything else. I've watched a lot of TV over the years, and a lot of shitty teen TV at that, and I have a question.

Growing up I didn't have a double bed. I didn't know anyone who did either. Yet every American teenager in a network show seems to have a double bed. Why? Don't their fathers care about encouraging under age sex by providing 5'6" of downy, cottony goodness, as opposed to, say, 3' of nylony discomfort??

The only show to break the rules seems to be Veronica Mars. Her bed is, like, 4'6" max. more like 4' probably. But she does comply to the 'everyone must always use a mac on TV' law :-

I mean I love my mac as much, if not more, than the next man, but it's ubiquitousness on TV when compared to, say, the fact that you see about 1 every 10,000 years in real life is eerie. Has Steve Jobs got some sort of TV executive voodoo shrine / wall o'drug abuse blackmail in his office? Oooh what's that in my closet? Is it 27 pairs of jeans, 42 black crew necks, and what's this - a picture of Joel Silver doing a line of blow off an underage hooker's tits? Surely not!

Anyway, don't answer that question. But do answer this one :-

Did anyone have, or even know anyone who had a double bed when they still lived with their parents?

Thought not.

Why do I think these thoughts? Why? Why? Why?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I used to go out with an American called Katrina. Which makes the following headline entirely believeable :-

Wise, wise, Americans.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I went for a walk yesterday, just randomly. Started off in Holloway and went down to Highbury & Islington and then down Upper Street to Angel. After that I cut through Clerkenwell across Kings Cross Road and past one of my favourite buildings in London :-

I don't know what it is, but something about it appeals to me. One day I'll take a picture at night when it's more impressive.

Then I went across Bloomsbury to Tottenham Court Road, bought a battery recharger because I seem to have acquired a bunch of things that eat batteries, and as I was passing the Troy Bar, about which I have waxed lyrical in the past, I thought I'd take a picture of it for you.

It's lovely isn't it?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ok - that's it. I'm officially losing my marbles. All I did today, apart from pay those bastards at Islington Council £1,014 in bastard council tax was rationalise my dried foods cupboard and tidy my spice shelf.

So not only am I going to starve to death in the event of a fimble winter or some other cataclysm preventing me from getting to Waitrose, but I would also appear to have become something of a gayer.

You'd think I'd have more pasta wouldn't you. Well that's because I make my own, so HA. In your face!

Actually it took me about 3 times as long to create these layouts as it did to do the bloody tidying in the first place.

I'm so bored.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I have a question, and it's really important. If Vuclans come from Vulcan and Bajorans come from Bajor and Kardassians come from Kardassia, why don't Humans come from Huma?

Monday, August 22, 2005


Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Edinburgh. So good they named it, er, apparently 3 times. Nothing comes close. Trust me. And this year's trip was a corker by any standards, and that's against some pretty strong opposition. If you've never been to the Edinburgh Fringe, then go. Nothing looks like it, feels like it, makes you feel like it.

Which isn't to say this annual pilgrimage doesn't have it's bad side. Which it does for one, it makes you sick. And not just physically sick, but if you're not careful, rotten to the core 'if I see one more pint I'll die', just leave me alone in my misery to die sick. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The Fringe

OK - The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. What can I say? The Fringe was started in 1947 by people who couldn't get into the festival proper (which is still running) but which The Fringe has now massively outgrown, in no small part due to the fact that there are no entry requirements or genre criteria (other than finding a space to perform and being able to finance it) or restrictions of any kind. In fact The Fringe is now the biggest festival in the world, bar none. In 2004 there were 25,326 performances of 1695 shows by 735 companies in 236 venues with an estimated 15,629 performers (to put that in context, the Olympics has about 11,000 athletes) and 1,253,776 tickets were sold. Very impressive, no, but what does all that mean?

What it means is that unless you're careful you can end up seeing some of the worst shit you'll ever have the misfortune to sit through / walk out of. Talentless ego maniacal (or worse, nervous and frightened) performers doing terrible material in venues that'd be uncongenial for a power-point presentation about meatotomy. But it also means that get it right and for about a tenner you're going to see some shows that you'll never forget. And I mean that in a good way.

Of course, this isn't the Panster's first time in Edinburgh. Not by a long chalk. Nooo Sireee Bob. So there was actually little danger of being accidentally sucked into seeing some terrible bag of shite, and everything we saw was actually pretty good. But before all that here's a quick recap of those previous years. There were others I'm sure but the memory has been eradicated. I know that sounds odd, but look at it this way - you go to largely the same places and see largely the same stuff with, by and large, the same people. Add in that you are background level drunk the *entire time* and roaring shit-faced bed at 6am wankered more nights than not, it's actually miraculous I can remember anything other than some sort of tartan themed stream of consciousness melange of pubs, shouted conversations and bags of chips.

1993 - Living in a Car.
1994 - Silverfish Infestation
1995 - Hotel Bastardo : Breeze Block Horror
1997 - Hotel Gay Boy
1998 - Hotel Bastardo : US Invasion
2000 - The Place With no Beds
2002 - New Town Palace : The Return of Hotel Gay Boy.
2005 - Student Haggis Breakfast

This year we stayed at Pollock Halls, (Edinburgh First) which was actually not bad and pretty well located. And even better it was a) cheap and b) included breakfast WITH HAGGIS!!

And although the accommodation was not as posh as, say, Hotel Gay Boy this was actually one of the less fucked up trips I can remember. Which is not to say that we didn't cane it mightily - simply that we can't take the pace quite as well as when we were 23, plus there were only 4 of us instead of the more usual 8-12 which is a much more manageable number, plus we wanted to see a lot of shows and eat a lot of big expensive and delicious dinners. All of which we achieved.

Day 1

Arrival. 4 hour train trip with Hari & The Riggmeister - no problem with the rooms. get in, and immediately head off to The Pleasance to take in a show, any show before dinner. We met Ana, our 4th compadre there and had a quick 3 or 4 pints before going to see (completely randomly) David Strassman schizophrenic ventriloquist. Who was great, even though I was already suffering from Edinburgh Urinary Syndrome (EUS). EUS, by the way is extremely common and is characterised by an intense desire to pass water, caused by the rapid consumption of lager in cold courtyard, but being unable to do so due to being trapped in a darkened space full of strangers ruled by a sadistic maniac who *will* pick on you should you make any attempt to sneak out to relieve yourself.

Serious Dinner

And from there (after a quick loo trip) we went on to Stac Polly. What can I say? We booked it because it was Ana's birthday, and we wanted to do something special. And boy was it. I wouldn't like to say this was the perfect meal, because then where would you go from, but it was pretty close. There's not a lot more they could have done to make it any better. If only I'd worn my mongoose costume . . .

This is grown up dining - it's a formal place. There's a french maitre 'd who is unfailingly polite but clearly takes his job seriously.
And it's elegant - spacious, quiet, civilised - crisp white tablecloths, high backed banquettes, an acreage of glassware (four glasses per person - is there any other way), but all of this is icing on the cake, what about the food.

I was expecting something good - it's a French influenced Scottish restaurant that aims to use the best of local produce in traditional and innovative ways. A couple of amuse gueule to get us going and help down a bottle Delamotte 1997 and then I started with baked filo pastry parcels of haggis on a sweet plum and red wine sauce. Delicious - spicy, sweet, everything you could want. Next up a fillet of roe dear with miniature roast potatoes, braised red cabbage and savoury apricot chutney. Heaven. Amazing. But could probably have managed with less cabbage. Then we shared a couple of puddings, the chocolate mousse and the sticky toffee pudding. The chocolate was fabulous the sticky toffee was beyond. Without doubt the best pudding I have ever eaten. I can't even begin to describe it properly - light, rich, sweet, ethereal, substantial. How can something made out of little more than fat and sugar be so divine? I don't know. And then of course, coffee, petit four and onto the bill.

So - incredible food, beautiful surroundings, wonderful service, a bottle of vintage champagne, 2 1/2 courses (+ extras bits), coffee and a beautiful bottle of Crozes-hermitage : £208 between 4 - £52 each, including service. If you can get better value anywhere else, tell me about it.

After that we rolled out of there feeling decidedly corpulent. Hari found it a bit difficult to walk up the hill so we had a bit of a rest leaning against someone's house and then caught a taxi to Bannerman's. A couple of quick beers and I was done. The girls (who hadn't had so much lager in the afternoon (and also hadn't been to Yauatcha, The Blue Posts and The Star and Garter the night before) managed to go on to another couple of places, but for the Panster it was game over. Sheets, pillows, duvets - I was out for the count.

Day 2

Up with the lark (9.30) to take advantage of my free cooked breakfast and then back to bed for another couple of hours until we rolled off into town. Quick bite of lunch (traditional Pleasance hot dog for me (ack)) and onto the next show, the decidedly odd, but strangely touching 'How to build a time machine'. I quite liked this show, it was certainly gripping in parts and amusing in others, Hari really liked it and she was suffering at this point, and the other two were somewhat less enthused, so overall I'd give it 3/5. And from there to . . . shopping (don't forget I went on holiday with a bunch of girls, amusingly referred to by other lesser friends as my 'harem'), bit of a kip, afternoon soak in the tub and time for dinner again.

Bloody Tourists

Now here we hit a problem, the place we'd intended to go was booked up, and finding a replacement for dinner at 7pm was proving hard to do. Eventually we went to the Mussel & Steak bar on the Grassmarket. Now there's nothing wrong with this place, but after the night before anywhere might struggle. And they nearly made us late for our show by underestimating how service times. But they did dish up a dozen of the most delicious oysters I've had in years. Even oyster agnostics were in rhapsodies. They were spectacular - firm, flavoursome, with a wonderful creamy texture and perfect blue grey and beige colouring. Mmmm mmmm. And beautifully opened - not one spec of shell. Not that there was anything wrong with the the main courses, just a bit uninspired. So if you are there, stick to the mussels or order a couple of starters and, of course, some oysters. Can't comment on the steak - no-one ordered it but it goes up to 14oz,

So we *just* made it to Omid Djalali. Now I've seen Omid a couple of times before and I'm a big fan. Even though one of those times was fairly painful. As I've said, I'm a big fan, he's very talented, and very funny. But it still doesn't explain why he can fill a 700 seat venue whilst people who are, frankly, quite a bit better are struggling with 120? It's not like he has a TV show or something, though frankly I'm surprised he doesn't. Or maybe I just missed it. Still he was very funny. I particularly liked his Iranian disco dancing, and somehow persuading half the audience to impersonate Islamic fundamentalists : "Think about being in a BBC news report, slap your palm repeatedly against your forehead and shout 'Allah, Allah, Allah!". No doubt about it he's a funny man, but funnier than so many other people . . . I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder.

Rubbish Bar

And on we go on and on and on. A couple more pints and then on for some serious drinking at The Opal Lounge. This is the sort of trendy, soulless, up it's own arse place that I have no time for, but Hari likes because she can guarantee to be pestered by predatory 30/40 something businessmen in them. I mean it's a favourite of Prince William's ffs, how much more of a reason d'you need to stay away than that? Anyway, I'm not going to bang on, but it was a fucking dull, though I did manage to drink my way through a staggering number of beers, mostly because all I had to do was drink and dance and occasionally make polite chit chat. I suppose I could have attempted to go off and pull some birds myself, but I was on my own remember. I'd find the prospect daunting enough with a wing man, but on my own . . . frankly I'm just not that guy, for which I think I'm quite grateful.

Good Bar

Anyway, about 3am Ana & Rigg had had enough, but I was starting to liven up a bit, and Hari was still up for it, so we jumped into another in what was becoming by now a never ending procession of taxis and headed off to Espionage. Now Espionage is much more my cup of tea - it's open till God knows when and has 5 differently themed floors, all of which are actually two basic themes in varying amounts. Theme 1: drinking like a demon and talking to strangers about how drunk you are. 2 : dancing like an idiot and talking to strangers about how drunk you are. And it's huge, and weird - because it's built into a hillside you can enter at level 1 or level 5 and in between there's just acres and acres of Tombraider-esq twisty turns and hidden rooms. That is if tombs are packed with drunk Scots, tourists and thespians.

Anyway we ventured into the bowels of the building and somewhere inbeetween level 3 and 4 (I think) Hari took a tumble down a flight of stairs. And amazingly though she ended up with her legs above her head, braced against a wall while a bunch of locals (rather nicely I thought) tried to help her up again she spilt NOT ONE DROP of either of the pints she was carrying. I suppose that set the tone a bit and from then on in it all went pleasantly pear shaped. 3 memories : attempting to do some sort of line dance to Dolly Parton's Nine to Five; telling some bloke I was talking to that I was an air traffic controller (why? why? why?); standing on a miniature stage to air punch my way through Bon Jovi's Living On A Prayer.

Don't remember getting home.

Day 3

Didn't make it to breakfast. Rolled out about 10.45, quick shower and wandered on my own into town for a bit. It was a beautiful day and eventually I sat outside this cafe called Sadivino, just up from the Pleasance. Anyway, over the course of the next 2 1/2 hours I consumed one plate of smoked salmon, one of bressaola, one portion of olives, 2 Purdey's, 1 coffee, 1 lemon mineral water and one glass of milk with mint syrup. And felt much the better for it. By then all the various kids had managed to haul themselves from their respective pits and join me so it was time to start drinking again. Which we did, and then at 4 went off to see our next show : Arthur Smith's Swan Lake.


Now we're getting somewhere. The shows up to this point have been good, but just shows.
Arthur Smith is something else. This is a show that utterly defies description. It's a narrated, interactive, funny, utterly silly, reworking (in the loosest, loosest sense of the word) interpretation of Swan Lake. And it takes place in The Stalinist Edinburgh housing estate : Dumbiedykes. No I didn't say it was set there - it takes place there. So the show consisted of Arthur leading you through the estate which is littered with his performers - people up trees, people singing from the stairways and balconies of the tower blocks, an excerpt from West Side Story in the local kiddies adventure playground . . . the interval (standing under a tree in the pouring rain while shivering thesps in their underwear distribute cups of warm neat vodka) conflict (being water-bombed by local kids (all part of the act, (probably)), Valkeies (more kids on skateboards), Elvis, and finally dancers on the mountainside. It was surreal, beautiful, funny, touching, heartwarming, life affirming, utterly silly, completely pointless and the best thing I have ever seen in Edinburgh. Actually the best thing I've ever seen, period. Arthur's done 4 performances, and that's it - finished. It'll never be seen or done again. I wish I hadn't forgotten my camera, but in a way that only makes it more unique.

We were all (those who saw it and hadn't buggered off to Glasgow) utterly charmed by this show, and felt the need to reflect quietly on it, which of course meant retiring to a nearby pub, the utterly charmeless but strangely comforting Holyrood Tavern and starting to drink heavily. A few pints later and we're heading for what, for me, I'd thought was going to be the highlight of the trip : Richard Herring in Someone Likes Yoghurt


There's not a lot I can say about Richard that isn't on his own website. The first time I saw him was WAY back in the day (1994?) doing Richard Herring Is Fat. Which was pretty good, and the year after that, Richard Herring Is All Man. With Sally Philipps as I seem to recall. Next year I saw her in Arthur Smith's Hamlet and she was really mean about an imaginary ex boyfriend called 'Dick Kipper'. Now what was all that about? Anyway, then he and Stuart Lee started doing telly and my attention sort of wandered, but now he's back, and how. I have NEVER laughed at a show as much as I did at this one. At one point I actually put my hands over my ears to stop the words coming in because I thought I was going to stop breathing if I laughed any more. And what was so funny about it? I couldn't tell you. It's too surreal - a stream of pointless, petty, vindictive complaints and diatribes against the world, a good half of which was directed in intense detail at some supermarket check out woman who had hinted that Richard liked yoghurt more than the next averagely lactose tolerant person.

Given that one of the other major thrusts of the show (religion is all crap, especially catholasism) ended with Richard accusing the women in the audience of wanting to have enormous trout swimming up their vaginas, you pretty much get the idea of what's going on here. Apparently he sometimes gets quite a bit of stick at gigs, but I can't imagine why - its the work of a genius in my book. But don't go if a) you are very religious b) you are uncertain about the whole vagina/trout thing c) you are a bisexual serial killer paedophile - Richard's magpie reward system will expose you . . .

Yet more dinner

And after that (can you see a theme developing here) dinner. This time we went to iGGS on Jeffrey street, which does Tapas during the day and then transforms into formal dining Scottish/Spanish fusion at night,. Which is fine with me - back to the lined table cloths, multiple glasses and lots of extra knives and forks. I was reasonably conservative in ordering having a beef carpaccio to start and then an olive crusted cod thing with something. Hari ordered the chicken!! This may not seem outrageous but it's one of our little restaurant unwritten rules - never order the poulet, but by this stage we didn't care. Anarchy.

Cod's a bit rubbish

The chorizo mash that came with Rigg's salmon was a revelation, but my cod was, predictably not that exciting. The olive crust was great, the fish was fresh, it was perfectly cooked to retain moisture, but at the end of the day it's a piece of cod - bland. I can't begin to understand why this flavour free fish has been fished practically to the edge of extinction. I suppose the firm flakiness of the flesh (too many 'f's) is spectacular, but I was reminded why I never order it - it's boring. A couple of bottle of wine went down pretty happily and the bill was about £45 - not too shabby at all.


And onwards and onwards. It was shortly after 11 by then so we thought we'd check out The Famous Spiegeltent. The Famous Spiegeltent writes on it's website :

"The Famous Spiegeltent is a mainstay of the Edinburgh Festivals season and a star in her own right, hosting parties, concerts, clubs and a myriad stunning performances. She has launched the European careers of countless artists and will forever remain the stuff of dreams."

But let me condense that down for them : The Famous Spiegeltent is a big pile of wank. Expensive, rammed and wall to wall with tossers, wankers, louts, oafs, public school numpties and (the horror) rugby bores. Imagine trying to struggle through a heaving tent to an overpriced bar having to listen to some Kiwi cunt behind you rant on and on about 'The Ruggers' while in front you some retarded trust fund chick is glued to her phone ascertaining what her dimwit friends wanted to drink.

Rude Irishman

So naturally Hari and Rigg managed to attract their usual crowd of shambling inadequates and I met the rudest Dubliner I've ever spoken to . Despite being charmless, graceless, short, bald, somewhere in his mid 40's and (nice touch) homeless he'd somehow got it into his head that I'd ruined his chances with Hari and was quite happy to communicate his displeasure to me. Despite at one point meeting some nice older Scots guys the evening was looking grim, but what goes around comes around.

More rude bastards

Rigg bumped into some bloke they'd met on day 1 who'd taken them to his private members club and spent 3 hours talking to them. He completely failed to remember her in any way. Ooopsy. She was just pouring out this tale of woe to me when she spotted Hari talking to some other bloke they'd also met before who she described as 'a right rude bastard' which was odd seeing as he looked like David Aaronovich (see left), but apparently his opening line is (regardless of whether you've met him before or not) "I hope your chat's better than last time". He'd also taken less than 10 minutes to make a totally unwanted and ugly spirited pass as well. Don't forget that normally mild mannered Pan had been drinking pretty much constantly for over 10 hours by now, and fuelled by this, and perhaps some other emotion - the vague aroma of which you can doubtless detect in this travelogue, decided to take matters in hand. Which entailed lurching over to this 6'2" genetic cul-de-sac and bellowing the following classic put down :- "Fuck off mate! And you've got man tits." It was lucky Hari was also telling him to get lost and he was in the process of turning away from her (while she was still talking to him) and it was very noisy. If he heard he didn't show any sign of it.

At that point we thought it would be a good idea to try somewhere else and headed off. On our way out we passed a trio of tall young gentlemen glassy eyed and frozen faced with inebriation wearing jeans, stripey shirts and sports jackets (the off duty uniform of the public school twat) who were shouting 'D'you wanna fuck?" at any and every young lady that passed within 10 feet of them. Ah, Young Britain at play. Charming.


So next up we tried The Grassmarket. This is a not so upmarket, stretch of central Edinburgh full of pubs and bars and somewhere I know well. The first place we tried after asking many equally drunken punters, the infamous Dragonfly Bar wouldn't let us in because they said they were closing early. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't but they don't get a link. Then we tried somewhere else, and finally some other bar or other which seemed fine. It wasn't a big place and not that full but pleasant enough. We'd just got out drinks and sat down and Hari went to the loo and came back telling us that the other bar 'upstairs' was nicer. So we followed her downstairs (weird) and up the other flight to the 'upstairs' bar. And yes it was simply the other side of exactly the same room. About 20 feet away ;-)

Will it never end?

When that joint closed about half an hour later you might think we'd consider going home, and I, at least, was SHATTERED, but oh no, no such luck. We staggered out onto The Grassmarket where all the pubs were chucking out. The population seemed to be about 79.9% drunk kids, 15% bemused German tourists, 4% Borders & Lothian Police, 1% vomit and 0.1% us. Time for another taxi. We headed back towards the Spiegelshite but got off and headed for the student union building. This is famous for several things which in order of importance are : 1) The bar's open till 5am 2) There is no discernible door policy of any kind 3) It's a bit grotty 4) Downstairs is the world's shittest disco bar none. By this stage it was well past 3am and we were past caring about anything really. Don't know when we went home, but I can remember how. By rickshaw.

Nice one.

Day 4

Made it to breakfast but that's as good as it got. Came home. Don't want to think about it. It was U.G.L.Y. Ack

So overall, what can I say about this year's trip to Edinburgh. Basically, I loved it.

Best. Year. Ever.

Normally you spend at least one day in Edinburgh locked in a room with only you and your alcohol poisoning, half the shows are a bunch of arse and you can't stand your friends by the end of the week. None of that happened, though I do seem to have got some sort of throat / neck / ear infection.

Roll on next year. Yeah Baby!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I just got back from three days doing the fringe in Edinburgh. I had the best time, but now I'm completely fucked.

Will write more later.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Victor, nettoyeur

Is it wrong to oppose the continued expansion of the European Union on the grounds that I might end up having to clean my own flat one day. My current cleaner is called Anna and comes from Estonia. She’s very tall and beautiful and both speaks and writes English perfectly. So why is she cleaning my flat - God only knows, but now that the Baltics have joined the EU it surely can’t go on for long.

Actually she took over from her sister who had to go back home on account of how she couldn’t stand living in London a second longer. Which I suppose is fair enough. If I was stuck living in a hovel somewhere cleaning other people’s flats at £20 a throw I wouldn’t like it much either.

Before that I had a very interesting lady from South Africa. She used to drink a bottle of red wine every time she came, and she normally turned up in the morning. I didn’t mind, she brought her own. Eventually she had do stop as she completely fucked up her tendons on some broken glass (fortunately not at my place). I still see her in the pub occasionally.

Years and years ago I used to have a Spanish cleaner, but I think she just liked it. She wore really strange brightly coloured PVC clothes, was very tanned and wrinkled and had lots of gold teeth. She was the best cleaner you could ever imagine and used over 2 liters of bleach every single week. Can’t imagine what she did with the stuff, but it certainly made the flat smell clean.

Does anyone except me find it profoundly depressing to check your mail at 8.15 in the morning and find that 3 of your chums have already made it into the office, had time to get a coffee, peruse their emails and send out appropriate replies.

Whatever happened to rolling into the office at 9.25 smelling of drink and complaining about frozen points at Haywards Heath?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Christ! I just found out that Carol (see previous post) only lives round the corner from me.

I hope she doesn't pop round to give me a piece of her mind for writing such cheeky things about her. What if she starts stalking me?


Yeah, Baby!

Is it just me or does anyone else think that Lucy Mangan from The Guardian is ridiculously hot. Don't know what it is - something about her little smile, those quizzical eyebrows, that head girl haircut. Yummy. And that's not a word I use often.

It's certainly not her writing that does it for me, not that there's anything wrong with it per se, but she is unfortunately the type of journalist that surely cannot long continue to exist, that is, the 'columnist'. These people have basically made a jolly good, self indulgant and freebie loaded living since the 1960's by producing a few hundred low-level amusing words every week about what happened to them, how this reflects the current cultural zeitgeist, and why their inane ramblings are of paramount importance and significance.

Some of them are good, like the wonderful Nicolas Lezard of Slack Dad fame, some of them are ridiculously lionized and over-indulged (stand up one J. Burchill) and some are just utterly shit - Barbara Ellen please collect your prize.

But what they will all surely be in the not too distant future is unemployed. I mean how long can it be before newspapers cotton on to the fact that there are millions of people around the world doing exactly the same thing as these people only funnier, quicker and most importantly cheaper. Well free in fact. And it's all down to us, the lonely Blogger. After all, why shell out all that money and waste all that ink when you can get the same result from printing a couple of URLs?

Which is, of course, bad news for the hyper-caliente Ms Mangan. Despite her brave attempts to move into TV criticism this cannot head off her inevitable doom, after all any old idiot can watch The O.C. and then write 800 words about why they love/hate/don't understand it. So Lucy faces the chop with only her rolodex to protect her. Bad news for her, but not for me ;) Let me explain a simple little concept I came up with a few years ago - Carol Decker Rules. Should you be a bit sad and/or creepy you will remember Decker as the lion lunged lead singer of pop sensations T'Pau. Well anyway, as a schoolboy I developed a powerful crush on her, which is odd because she's not my usual type at all, but there you go - what can you do about it?

So I'm 15 or so, live with my parents and have a really bad haircut, what are the chances of pulling chart topping flavour of the month Carol? Exactly none, or just astronomically close to none? Well the answere is exactly none. But, but, but, move forward a decade or two, and where does that find us? I no longer live with my parents, am, in fact quite successful in my chosen field and have a great haircut. And hair for that matter. But where is Carol? Who knows? Cast aside by the cruel hand of fate anyway. T'Pau never really went anywhere and apart from some tragic semi revival type gigs Carol hasn't done anything since. Chances of pulling her now? : considerably improved. You'd think she'd be quite grateful ;-)

And this is the basis of celebrities who are said to be suffering under 'Carol Decker Rules'. Ex media darlings who have fallen on hard times and would therefore be willing to go out with mere mortals such as ourselves. Of course some people will never be covered by Carol Decker rules - Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve, Madonna spring to mind - because they are simply legends, and others, whilst unloved and unemployed are simply too rich - Britney et al are natural candidates here.

And so back to Lucy. Whilst employed as one The Grauniad's self important chatterboxes it's pretty unlikely she'd go out with yer average Joe - she's bound to go for some bullet headed city type with a 6 figure salary and a flat in Chelsea. Plus all those freebies and invites to ghastly launches and offers of free holidays must be something you could get used to. But after her and her fellow hacks are thrown onto the scrapheap of life by us bloggers in the manner of a 1985 vintage miner, well we'll just have to see won't we. I think a year or two living in a, ooh, I dunno, how about Easterhouse in Glasgow and who knows, but you'd have to say that if you suddenly turned up in the local Cost-Cutter where Lucy is now manning the fag cabin you'd have to think that your chances would be improved.

Oh yes.

She will be mine.

One way or another.

Actually if I was being entirely honest even Carol Decker isn't really covered by Carol Decker rules. It's a sad world.