Friday, April 27, 2007


I was in Foyles buying some books yesterday. For those of you who don't know Foyles it's a very odd shop. Nothing like as odd as it used to be but still a bit weird. It's not the biggest bookshop in the world any more, in fact it's not even the biggest in London (in terms of square footage) but it has one critical advantage: in terms of number of titles stocked it kicks ass. I don't know if it carries more titles than any other book shop in the world, but it's up there. I certainly never found anywhere with more actual books in New York - it is, after all, one thing to have 100,000 square feet of store space but if 50,000 of that is taken up with Harry Potter, Dan Brown and Michael Crighton you may be shifting more units /square foot, but who cares? Kinokuniya in Times Square, Shinjuku could probably give it a run for it's money, but to be honest it's quite hard to tell really.

Anyway, I'm confident in saying that Foyles has probably the largest number of titles actually on it's shelves of any English Language bookshop in the world, which means that if you can't be bothered to wait for something to be delivered you probably have more chance of being able to pick it up there than anywhere else.

But back in the olden days Foyles was truly mad - like some sort of exercise in Victorian doublethink :-

  1. Computers were banned - everything was cross indexed manually
  2. The fiction was arranged by publisher (ie all the Penguins together followed by the Picadors etc etc). This meant that unless you knew the Publisher of the book you were looking for as well as the author you had to engage with Foyles entirely non-computerised cross reference system to find anything.
  3. You couldn't just buy a book. Oh no. You had to find you book, take it to the assistant's desk who looked it up in some insane ledger wrote out a chit for it gave the whole lot back to you and then take the chit to a different floor queue up again and give the book, chit and money to the cashier who;d give you a receipt. If you were lucky you'd get the book too sometimes. One can only imagine this was some sort of primitive stock control procedure, but who knows
  4. Everything above floor 2 was covered in dust
  5. All the staff were insane - either rabidly obsessed with their own area of book specialisation or rabidly obsessed with hating the customers. Either way it didn't make it easy to pick up something to read on beach.

Actually the shop may now mostly look and operate more normally but both points 4 and 5 still have some validity - up at the top you could still be crushed to death by a stack of, ooh, lets say 'Non Metalic Minerals of the Trans Ural Massif (1934)' and no-one would notice for years. And actually now that regular books can be found and purchased in a normal manner its really good to have assistants that care about the subject matter and not just selling the lastes blockbuster. Nerds love Foyles.

So there I was in book nerd heaven. I'd made my selections and was sidling up to the counter to make my purchases when the specky geek suddenly ducked out of the way and was replaced by a chick. A hot chick. Well hot for Foyles anyway. So what's the problem? Let's just say I don't think I could have been buying a selection of books better designed to tell everyone within earshot "I am still a virgin" if I'd tried :- Build a computer from scratch, The Elfish Gene, Y The last Man: Unmanned

So:- a DIY manual for building a computer in your bedroom, a fantasy role playing memoir and a comic book. I might as well just have bought something called "Animal Cumshots: A Celebration!" and be done with it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

BBC Archive

Sometimes blogging seems like a completely pointless exercise. How can adding my voice to the incessant babble stream of the internet help in any way? Is there anything I could possibly say about Virginia or Iraq or Gordon Brown that would in any way help?

Well no, not really.

So instead take a look at this instead. This is my project and it's gonna kick ass.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Can't be bothered to blog anything about the weekend other than to say it was a rock and roll rollercoaster of alcohol, bowling, dancing and, er, alcohol.

Didn't make it home at all on Friday night and got in at 6am on Sunday morning.

Felt a bit poy most of yesterday to be honest, but surprisingly OK today. Just a bit knackered. Seem to have quite a few UDIs as well . . .

Friday, April 13, 2007

Michael Lyons

Exactly how stupid are we supposed to be? Does anyone seriously believe that Sir Michael Lyons has been appointed as anything other than a Treasury stooge. I mean, lets be objective here, what do we know?

1) He's some sort of incredibly dull local government cost cutter.

2) He's a member of the Labour Party

3) He's worked for Gordon Brown

4) He has absolutely no experience of broadcasting

Which. I'm afraid, equals Treasury Stooge. Gordon Brown hates the BBC as can be witnessed by his recent evil License Fee settlement. He basically sees the BBC as just another government department that needs to be bullied and brow beaten until it loses the will to live, and Lyons is, in his mind, the man to do it.

There is though, just one problem. Every government of whatever flavour thinks the BBC needs bringing into line and they're forever sending missionaries to knock it into shape. Trouble is, they always go native, and then you have an even bigger problem - your stooge is, sometimes unknown even to themselves, secretly working for the BBC, but still privy to governments' privy thoughts.

I mean Tony and the entire establishment attenpted to fuck the BBC over Hutton. He may have won on paper, but the court of History gives a different verdict. The government were lying and everyone knows it, whatever anyone else says.

Lyons has no chance. Media is a tricky world. You need big guns and he's got nuthin, Realistically appointing such a non entity can only have one of three outcomes : 1) He simply becomes a government catspaw, taking his orders direct from Gordy 2) He goes native and becomes a BBC evangelist 3) He becomes politically irrelevant as the real players sidestep him completely.

Time will tell, but I'm going for 1. With a side bet on 3.

Joan as Police Woman

That was awesome

Joan describe Real Life (above) as a love song, and I suppose it is. Truly an amazing talent.

But will I never learn not to drink 4 pints of lager before worming my way into a packed auditorium . . .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Joan as Police Woman

I'm going to see Joan Wasser this evening and to say I'm a bit excited is quite considerably understating matters.

To calm myself down I'm drinking a Green Goddess from Crussh. It's almost, but not quite, exactly like drinking the contents of the grass box off your lawn mower.

Is 'grass box' rude? It sounds rude.

Monday, April 09, 2007


It's depressing to achieve nothing. I spent the whole day in bed dozing, coughing, blowing my nose on a t-shirt and wondering if I'm ever going to feel well again.

Goddam viral infections. And I'm super depressed as well.

If I go to the gym tomorrow I'll feel better. And be very surprised.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spain, Ear, Duffel Coat

Well I didn't go to Spain like I was supposed to. Ear is still bad and I just can't seem to shake my cold. OK, maybe on their own they're not sufficient reasons to stay home. I guess some part of me just didn't want to go. For whatever reason.

So I've been having a quiet one over the holiday . . . watching some telly, avoiding my chores, went to the Park with Els today. Sat in the 'sun' all afternoon - and not even a hint of pink. S'pose it is only April . . .

BTW, Phil, if you're reading this, while I very much admire you're refusal to comply with the expectations of society I can't help thinking you must have looked a bit unusual skiing in a red duffel coat. LOL. Respect.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Google, YouTube

Has anyone noticed the way that Youtube pages have suddenly started appearing in Google search results. Were they always there? Have they just somehow crept up the rankings? Mysteries within riddles . . .

At first I though Google might be pulling a fast one, but some research shows that if anything they're being more than fair. Lycos, Altavista and Yahoo all put the same YouTube page at No 2.

I am though reasonably certain that if you'd put "calling occupants" into Google or any other search engine a couple of months ago you wouldn't have seen youtube anywhere in th top 100 . . .

So what are we saying? That in about a year audio visual content has moved from nowhere to top of the tree . . . looks that way.

This is a very boring post isn't it?

And don't ask why I was looking for the flaming Carpenters in the first place, but there was a very good reason. Probably.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Drunk, deaf, Palestinian

Boy oh boy did I get drunk on Saturday.

In fact I was so pissed I got the bus home. I got off somewhere about Highbury intending to walk home. But first I went to the shop to buy some matches and a Dr Pepper, and got talking, as you do, to some guy in a wheelchair. So after a bit we rolled out of the shop (him literally, me figuratively) and began one of those late night London street drunk conversations that begins with 'So how did you lose your legs' and goes down hill from there.

I've no idea what we were talking about but two of his friends turned up and they were a) The drunkest women I've seen in a long time b) About 45 c) Deaf. Really. Anyway one of them decided she was going to have 'Steve' (my new friend) and climbed into his wheelchair to engage in some serious tonsil hockey. I can really only describe her position as straddling his stumps, and the other one decided that she fancied a piece of me as well. I have to say I clearly have no spirit because I fled the scene rather than sticking around to see how it ended up. Last memory walking backwards down the Holloway Road finger signing "I'll call you later" while 'Steve' can still be plaintively heard begging me not to leave him with 'these crazy women'. He didn't stand a chance poor bastard.

Think about it - I could have had a four some with a couple of middle aged deaf ladies and a legless Palestinian. Why don't I ever take these oppotunities when they come up?

Can vaguely remember engaging a copper in conversation at some point after that so probably lucky I didn't end up in jail.

Next memory - Sunday afternoon.