What this blog isn't

It's not a Leeds-based exploration of the joys and challenges of shaping the mortar between house-bricks so that the rain runs off without undue damage.
Nor is it about looking at, achieving, or maintaining erections of the male variety. That's what the rest of the internet is for.
It's also not about drawing peoples' attention to the beauty of the Aurora Borealis by indicating it with an extended forefinger
It probably isn't SFW[Safe For Work] either (especially if you work in a church) thanks to the liberal sprinkling of profanities, heresies and blasphemies.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I’d be the worlds worst bingo caller

I’m not very good at brevity. I also have a problem with preventing the mental artist who paints the mental pictures inside my head from embellishing them endlessly until what should be just a funny internal visualisation of an event, a tiny vignette perhaps, becomes a bloody trompe-l’oeil  triptych behind my eyes.

I’ve long suspected that this might hamper any real-world activities or professions that I might otherwise enjoy and excel at. So I tried to practice brevity and simplicity in the comfort of my own home using a time-honoured method.

I tried my hand at being a home-brew bingo caller.

Not wishing to lessen the experience any I made a bingo machine from a hairdryer (on cool) blowing into the bottom of a Rainy Day Cricket box with a straw sticking out of the top of it. With a disk pen and a magnifying glass I marked polystyrene bean-bag balls with numbers in accordance with the Gaming Act of 1968.

I wore a waistcoat. A spangly one I found in the attic. I did not fasten it however, as I have somehow put on weight in the twenty years since I wore it last.

Then I had to fashion a long tube for the bottom of the Rainy Day Cricket box (from a vacuum cleaner hose that I still own despite throwing out the machine years ago. No, I don’t know why) so that  the polystyrene balls would stop bouncing off the ceiling. Then I had to make a stand for the whole assembly from bent wire coat-hangers and blu-tack so that the hairdryer wouldn’t burn out or the box fall over. I considered giving up, but armed with the knowledge that my task was both onerous and completely fucking pointless I knuckled down. Magnifying glass at the ready, and thumb over the end of the straw I began.

Four seconds later (or thereabouts) the whole fucking shebang fell to bits. The Rainy Day Cricket box was seemingly unhappy with its new, dual role and flew apart at the seams - spewing my tiny balls everywhere.

So I emptied out (by which I mean ate) the contents of a box of miniature Coco Pops from a Kellogs Variety pack and tried again. Success! Hammering a lump of blu-tack flat on the desk as a bingo board that I could embed the balls in, I began to test my calling skills.

“Two identical positive pregnancy test pens that your youngest daughter has held up in front of her; at which she is looking back and forth in growing horror and panic – like a spectator at a tennis match being played by zombie strippers…eleven.”

Not good. I tried again.

“Sheila and Melanie over there by the bar – who between them have enough liquid grease surging through their veins to fry a thousand sausages and still have enough left over to lubricate all the moving parts of a fleet of ocean liners…eighty-eight.”

Hmmm. Okay, one more try.

“The act of coitus that involves you and your husbands lying top-to-tail and stimulating each others genitals orally…but lets face it ladies…they’re not getting any younger, so at some point you know you’re going to have to stick an unspecified number of fingers up their bums and stimulate the prostates within that have enlarged over the years - to the point where they now resemble a goat’s kneecap…sixty-nine.”

It was at this point that the realisation dawned that I wasn’t cut out for this line of work.

Next time: I’d be the world’s worst flotation device.

Hater – the word the internets loves

From shrieking teens to respected bloggers, the word ‘hater’ is all over the internet. Not with a qualifier before it. Just sitting there on its own.


“You are a hater!!!!!!1”

“Its haters like you that make the internet a horrible place”


Take a look – in the comments of satire sites, in raging wars between fanboys of opposing gaming technology, everywhere.

At least lover means something (many things) on its own – but ‘hater’ is a lousy word.

Definition? Hater: Someone who hates.

Fuck that.

I loathe the word. It is pointless. It attempts to dismiss the opinions of those with whom  its user disagrees – without the need for a cogent argument against whatever the ‘hater’  is saying. It’s on my list of internet numbfuckery alongside ‘OMG’ and ‘WTF’.

So, for those who can’t stop using it, I’d like to consign you to ‘L’ over and over.

L       over

L     over

L    over

L   over

L  over

L over


There. I feel much better now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nostalgiorgasm: The Sup of the Gods – Half and Half

I was sixteen years old. It was the summer of 1985. Kate Bush was still do-able, even though she kept running up hills away from us. Prince and Michael Jackson fought the chart-fight among the scattered gaudy shreds of New Romanticism. I still had lots of hair on my noggin and lamentably fine ‘tash bristles that would make a Baleen whale’s teeth look like mammoth tusks.

I was in a Working Men’s Club. It’s gone now, but back then it was still a hub of excitement, activity, ridiculous dance moves from the middle-aged and SERIOUS DRINKING. It was a family do – and like at all family do’s I just tried to keep my head down. I’d found a corner to wait for my then girlfriend and sat with my pint, quietly sipping it as I watched my kin – close and distant- celebrating a wedding in the traditional noisy way. I wasn’t alone for long.

Parting the revellers on a bee-line for my quiet table was a wizened apparition clutching two pint glasses close to his chest. Two pints of the darkest liquid I had ever seen that wasn’t Guinness. He reverentially set the twin pints down on beermats on the table and squeezed in next to me. A deep, grumble grew in his chest as his gap-toothed maw worked slowly on an invisible blockage. Eventually the grumbles became words, and he spoke to me.

“Son….son…son…sunna…sunna, man…sunna.” he said, insistently trying to get my attention.

“I fear thee ancient man in here.” I mumbled back at him. (Yes, I was just as much of a pretentious fuck then. I was just cuter with it.)

“Wha’?” he replied, his confusion turning his entire face into a knot of pallid flesh.

“Never mind, mate.” I responded, hoping to get this encounter over with. “What can I do for you?”

“Whatcha drinkin’?” he asked, nodding down at my pint a few more times than was necessary for me to understand the gesture. I think his head was loose or something.

“Trophy.” I replied quickly. Trophy Bitter was my tipple then and I loved it as much as someone who has never tried more exotic things loves their egg and chips.

“Try this man.” he wheezed. As he held the untouched dark pint up for me I noticed that he was already half way through the other, even though he’d only just started supping a minute or two ago.

Slightly afraid of this octogenarian shambling creature I complied…and had my young mind blown in a way that drugs would struggle to better years later. A rich, delicious, nutty, oaky, hoppy flavour flooded over my taste buds. You know they say milk is a food? Well so was this. Not thick, or over-heavy – just satisfying and somehow filling and warming at the same time.

“My God! What is this stuff?” I gasped, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I licked the brew from my nanofilament tash hairs. They too were standing on end. If I’d taken the time to look at my pubes, I suspect that they – for an instant – would be poker straight. It was THAT good.

“It’s half and half.” he chuckled back, before succumbing to paroxysms of pleurisy-style coughing that would put an Elizabethan consumptive to shame. When he had recovered, he swigged down the rest of his pint and took the glass from me again. Still laughing, he took a deep draught. “Half Exhibition and half McEwans Best Scotch, sunna…and there’s nowt else like it.”

He was right. I’d tried Scotch on its own and liked it, but this was another thing altogether. This was fucking NECTAR. Somehow the Scotch had been transformed by the mix with Newcastle Exhibition Ale into a binary propellant that shot my senses into orbit. The shambler told me that it was a bit of an old man’s drink these days, but you could still ask for it in pubs and clubs and only the most clueless barman wouldn’t understand your desire.

“Trouble with it is,” he went on amiably “it either preserves yer forever or kills yer before yer fifty. There’s the wife now. I’m off to the bar. See yer later sunna.”

As he moved off into the crowd I shouted after him.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t remember who you are.” I explained sheepishly to this elderly gadgee who had opened my eyes to this amazing brew.

“I’m yer Uncle Bob’s first wife’s brother, Davey.” he informed me, not unkindly.

“But that would make you about…” I halted, unsure of my maths (and family tree too – I didn’t even know he had a first wife).

“Aye, sunna. I’m forty-six. See yer later.”

I sat there stunned. Just then my beautiful blonde beloved walked in and, after greeting my family, came over to me. Smooch greetings ensued and when we were done she asked me if I wanted anything from the bar seeing as she needed the loo.

“Yeah.” I said without hesitation. “Get me a pint of half and half. The barman’ll know what you mean.”

As she wandered back to me with the drinks, the Kershaws man came in the door behind her with his basket of cockles, mussels and assorted snacks.

My joy was complete and overwhelming.

They don’t make Exhibition any more….and yes, I wiped away a little tear when I finished this post

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reflections on the weaponisation of children

Pester power through your telly

Toys and games and foam bath jelly

Their idols shill for soft drink firms

Buy their crap on easy terms


The charities don’t think it funny

that doe-eyed kids beg for our money

Sad songs sung in monochrome

Battered, in a broken home


Adopt a puppy, horse or kitten

Look! They’re cute! Your kids are smitten

Open your wallet, sullen dad

The pets are actors, you’ve been had


“My dad smokes. I wish he’d stop”

“Mum buys gin from down the shop”

“The internet’s a dangerous place”

“Come on in and book my Face.”


Units. Cancer. Paedo fear

Legislate’s the way – it’s clear

CCTV in our schools

Comply! You must. These are the rules


Government. Charities. Companies. Stop using our fucking children against us. When they no longer listen to us, they will turn on you.

I’m reading Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man again. That’s what being cut out of the web 2.0 feedback loop will be like for some people: not being an Esper any more. Mind you, being completely immersed in it would be like demolition. Wiped of personality and uniqueness, but all your skills are left intact.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I don’t sell T-shirts, but if I did…

I don’t sell T-shirts, but if I did…

This would be the first of them.



What? I’ve seen worse.

magnetite Industries recommend Spanglox laundry detergent for use on its line of imaginary clothing.

SPANGLOX – Don’t worry about the smell from the washing machine – and, yes, your skin is supposed to burn for a while after you don your clean clothes. That’s the acid working.


I have Winamp – and I’ve just discovered that it keeps a list of most played songs. This, God help me, is the top 50 most played on my machine.

1. Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
2. Mark Lanegan - Hit The City
3. Primal Scream - Come Together
4. stellastarr* - My Coco
5. Kate Nash - Foundations
6. Andrew Bird - Scythian Empires
7. Cyndi Lauper - I Drove All Night
8. Ed Harcourt - All Of Your Days Will Be Blessed
9. Massive Attack - Teardrop
10. Cocteau Twins - Bluebell Knoll
11. Elbow - Forget Myself
12. Mark Ronson - Stop Me
13. Cocteau Twins - Pitch The Baby
14. The Associates - Those First Impressions
15. The Sundays - Wild Horses
16. Swervedriver - Rave Down
17. stellastarr* - Somewhere Across Forever
18. Camera Obscura - Tears For Affairs
19. The Undertones - Julie Ocean
20. Pixies - There Goes My Gun
21. Camera Obscura - Come Back Margaret
22. Cocteau Twins - Lorelei
23. The Polyphonic Spree - Soldier Girl
24. The Motorettes - We Are Solution
25. Camera Obscura - I Don't Want to See You
26. Deftones - The Chauffeur
27. Dusty Springfield - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
28. The Arcade Fire - Wake Up
29. Pink Floyd - Speak to me
30. Pixies - Debaser
31. Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper
32. Fun Boy Three - The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum)
33. Take That - Shine
34. Lloyd Cole & the Commotions - Rattlesnakes
35. Oasis - The Importance Of Being Idle
36. The Wonderstuff - Unbearable
37. Camera Obscura - Country Mile
38. Jamelia - Something about you
39. The Cranberries - Linger
40. David Bowie - Maid Of Bond Street
41. Aretha Franklin - It Hurts Like Hell
42. Pink Floyd - Any colour you like
43. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
44. Roxy Music - Virginia Plain
45. Japan - I Second That Emotion
46. The Stone Roses - She Bangs The Drums
47. The Beach Boys - God only knows
48. David Bowie - Heroes
49. Parliament Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
50. The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

The most obvious conclusion that I can come to based on this list is that I appear to be a girl.

A girl with deep psychological problems and FUNK in her heart.