Yearly Archives: 2003

Oh ‘Come’ Ye Merry Gentlemen (snigger)

On Saturday was the Carlton Christmas Party, organised by Ruth, with the help of a motley bunch of us. Once again it was a marvellous transformation of a crummy municipal room into glittering grotto of festive delights. It’s amazing what 20 metres of tinsel and red and green tablecloths can do. Add to the mix some appropriate music (why did glam rock lend itself so well to the Christmas spirit?), some suitably drunk people and a huge buffet, and the scene was set for a fantastic night.

It wasn’t complete without the pantomime of course. That quaint British tradition of taking a nice little children’s story and adding crude jokes to it until it collapses under the weight into chaos. This year’s was written by your humble narrator, assembling the ideas from a brainstorming, barrel-scraping and sewer-cleaning evening at Ruth’s. These panto’s actually turn out to be more of an exercise in cramming as many double- and single-entendres into 10 minutes as possible. Went down a storm.

Another bonus was not doing a Grease or Rocky Horror song this year. Believe me, you’ve got to get your relief where you find it.

Here’s to a great party and a brave new year.

Try To Look Cool

Friday evening straight from work, grab a sandwich, then to Kick, a cafe bar with a late license in Shoreditch.

The place has a real South American feel to it, peeling paint, bright colours and football tables. These last give the bar their name. Real heavy ones too – battered aluminium goals, heavy frames, beaten-up players, and much replaced linoleum pitch surface.

When I arrived, I was faced with that phenomena known as “being the first to arrive at the bar”. While you’re occupied at the bar buying the first of many Happy Hour beers, it’s OK. But then what?

There’s no stools free at the bar, the first choice for the lone social drinker. It’s Friday 6pm – there are no tables free. So condemned I was to stand around, looking at the various posters on the wall (Incognito being supported by The Average White Band? WTF? Oh right – I get them mixed up with Great White. Or was it Big Black?)

Finally a sofa becomes free, so I nip over, and gladly sink in…

…up to my neck. I turns out to be one of those comedy sofas bars keep to entertain the regulars. My knees were round my ears, but I managed to scrawl this off before the others arrived.

What followed was a rather fun evening, revolving mainly around the fact that from 5-7pm, the beers are £1.50. We had 18 lined up on the table at one stage.

It’s just non-stop craziness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Palm OS Freeware

After my unsuccessful attempt at rescurrecting my Psion Siena from the grave by mummifying it with silver gaffer tape (this site passim), I decided to indulge in a sparkling second hand Handspring Visor. Being the skinflint I am, I wanted to populate it with as much freeware as possible, and after nearly a year of use, I’ve settled on the following clever little bits:

Waste Some Company Time

This is another one of those bloody 80’s lyric quizzes. Good stuff, but sadly, as is common with these things, too many of the songs were hits in the US, but anyone with any taste (ie Brits) wouldn’t recognise them for toffee. Still, it made me grin to get the Safety Dance.

‘Husband Strip Actually Funny’ Shock

The Yobs strip in the current edition of Private Eye is actually mildly funny.

If you want consistency, go to Achewood.

Look At Choo Choo

I was getting the train home the other day, waiting at Kings Cross Thameslink, watching the mice on the tracks. The train I wanted was delayed by about 20 minutes. Oh well. When it arrived, everyone squeezes on, but I manage to get a seat. We trundle off to Farringdon, then we sit there for 15 minutes. Then comes the announcement.

“Due to a technical problem, this train is now out of service. Please de-train”

Chiz moan drone. Everybody piles out again, and waits on the platform.

Now, this all sounds pretty annoying, and it was, but hey, it’s pretty rare, and it wasn’t too chilly. No, the bit that really got to me was the series of banal platitudes spewing forth from the mouth of the man, sorry, git standing next to me.

Here are some gems from this modern comic genius:

  • “I could have walked home by now”
  • When the defective train moved out of the station to make room for the next one – “It looks alright to me!”
  • The announcer repeated the message, “Due to a technical problem…” he said “What sort of technical problem! If you were more specific, I’d be happier!”. O would you. Would you understand what it meant? Do you think they are lying about there being a fault? You bloody cretin.

OK, we’re all a bit pissed off with the situation, but for the love of all things holy, SHUT the FUCK UP.

So anyway. After a few more of these gems, I muttered, “Jesus” under my breath. His female companion looked at me sharply. It would appear these comments were supposed to be for her – so why he used his braying knowall voice I don’t know.

Next train arrived, squeezed on, got a corner seat, dozed off, home. Tada.

Hmm. This blog is turning into a mixture of grumpiness, moaning and crappy reviews. But don’t worry, boppers, all will change soon, because I’m getting involved in some more theatre stuff, so that will give me lots of juicy angst and stress to vent forth about. Keep watching the skies.

2 Gents

On a more positive note (“La!”), I went to see my pals, the Carlton Dramatic Society, in the new adaptation of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Bollywood dances, comic interludes, a scene- and hat-stealing dog, great original music and fantastic costumes combined to make a wonderfully enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The set was innovative and flexible, and the intrusions from the other Verona play (R and J) were hilarious. Well done to all involved!

Urban DK

Waiting to cross the road this morning, I saw that the nice silver jewellery shop by Streatham station has closed, to be replaced by – you guessed it – a pound shop! Like Streatham needs another one.

It’s really depressing to think that a nice shop can’t make enough to survive in a shithole like Streatham, while another shop selling poor quality plastic goods can? I mean for flip’s sake, McDonald’s closed in Streatham. I don’t patronise McDonald’s much (“Well, they do their best” – ho ho) but when I did enter the Streatham branch, they didn’t have any fries. NO FRIES. It must have been run and staffed by idiots, which is a common problem in Streatham.

Also affected are all the supermarkets – once when trying to find falafel in Safeway, the member of staff hadn’t heard of it, and in fact grimaced when I described it.

To top that, eventually they asked the store manager, and they hadn’t heard of it either. Jeez. Found it in the end, next to the steaks and veal probably.

Anyway, McDonalds closed, and was replaced by – wait for it – a pound shop. However, shortly after that, another pound shop along the road closed, and was replaced by – oooo the suspense – KFC.

So you can’t say that the planning department doesn’t have our, and the community’s, best interests at heart.

DVD Love Action

Been watching a few DVD’s now we’ve got the machine. I’ve got it squirting it’s noise through my amp, so I can hear director’s commentaries and alternative endings in glorious Dolby 5.1. Albeit through two rather small speakers, with books and CDs piled in front of them. But no matter!Watched Equilibrium on rental first. We got it on one of these new DVD-rental-by-mail places, called Movietrak. We ordered the movie, but it never turned up, probably due to Royal Mail incompetence.

So I emailed Movietrak, and they sent another copy immediately. So well done MT. Recommended.

Anyhoo. The film. Well, Blade Runner it ain’t, but it was a good slice of nonsense fun. The plot didn’t hang together particularly well, but the fights were pretty nifty if you like that sort of thing. Having seen Underworld a couple of weeks ago, I have to make comparisons.

Long Coats? Check.

Po-faced hero? Check.

Cheekbones? Check.

Climactic final fight scene? Check.

Coup de grace causing severed part of body to remain attached, then slowly slide off? CHECK!

Seems to be the effect to have at the moment. I bet Quentin has Uma do this to someone in his new flick. [edit: yes he does!]

It was good to have the little Hitler Youth son turn out to be a goodie – unusual, when you look at the pedigree. The kid made a better job of not showing emotion than the main character did anyway.

Went to see Bright Young Things, adapted from the Evelyn Waugh by one of my heroes, Stephen Fry. Jolly good fun. Great balance of sympathy and disgust at the characters. Lots of familiar faces, some new ones, but ones to watch. After enjoying such a genteel vision of life, it seemed rather a shame to come out of the cinema into Wimbledon, with it’s Top Man-shirted scum roaring drunk all around. Ho hum.

So what better way to cheer up than to watch the 4 disc ‘definitive’ set of Evil Dead. Great stuff, and packed with goodies, including a very young bequiffed and be-nasty-late-80’s-double-breasted-zoot-suited Jonathan Ross interviewing Sam Raimi. Bless ‘im.

So that means my DVD collection so far consists of Apocalypse Now Redux, Evil Dead, and, erm, that’s it. How obvious, darling. I must do something about that. Hey why not buy me something? Worth a try.

We Are The Goon Squad And We’re Coming To Town. Beep Beep.

Lots of reviews in this post – you may make notes if you wish.

In a hungover haze last Friday, I bought a CD compilation at the stall in Euston Station (The stall is called Impulse – this is because only impulse buyers would pay their prices) of ’80’s synth hits’ called Electric. It’s on Telstar, so you know it’s gotta be good. There’s a pretty scathing review of it here. It really isn’t much cop as a definitive selection of any genre, let alone new wave or electro. That said, there are quite a few good songs on here, and I must take issue with the reviewer who complains about 3 Thompson Twins songs being on it (Hold Me Now, Love On Your Side and the kewl You Take Me Up (which is about me, actually)). They are the only 3 TT tunes I like and I therefore don’t have to buy a separate TT compilation! Bingo! The version of Cars is a horribly mutated remix version, which I think was used for a lager commercial in the late 90’s. I think it prompted Gazza to perform on Top Of The Pops. Without his girdle, sadly. Stick to the sharp suits, Gary, leather is no longer an option.

Anyway, it does mean I can get rid of the horribly crackly lo-fi cassette copies of these tracks (copied from friends vinyl – Now That’s What I Call Music 3 or something).

p.s. Just to prove how backward the US is musically, they are on Now 13, while we are on Now 55! Catch up, America!

On the train the other day (8.10 from Streatham) I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt that read ‘FCUK SAYS RELAX’. I have to say it made me spit blood. Why don’t French Connection just fuck off?

It’s a bit depressing that what used to be a fun, independent thing – to take a readily recognizable trademark and change to an amusing or political slogan – has now been taken over by BIG BUSINESS. (in retrospect, it was probably always like this)

It used to be the thing around the late 80’s and early 90’s to take a brand of washing powder (or something) and use the design to your own ends. I remember the ones you could get: ‘Mild Green Fairy Liquid’ -> ‘Wild Green Fairly Hip Kid’, ‘Ford’ -> ‘Fuct’, the cover of ‘Run’ by New Order, Curve’s freezer logo etc etc.

Since then, I’ve seen FC doing IBM, and a couple of others. My question is, who buys this stuff? Do they think they are being original and/or amusing?

It just shows that the average High Street consumer has very little imagination, getting their amusing, original t-shirts produced en masse by a low grade fashion retailer (whose fortunes were turned around by TBWA, much in the same way as New Labour, and Channel Five).

It just makes me a little sad, that’s all. God knows I’m no fashion guru, model, or oil painting, but for flip’s sake, have some DIGNITY.

And of course it turns out that an independent t-shirt maker was threatened with legal action by French Connection for making a t-shirt with ‘cnut’ written on it. So he pointed out to the various TM’s they were ripping off, and since then, French Connection have lost 2.5 million quid! Har Har.

Another fashion thing I don’t approve of is this ‘fashion house makes copy of army surplus item and charges the Earth for it’ idea. But then that’s just me. And also the act of embroidering khaki should be stopped if possible. Ta.

Mustn’t whine too much, or I’d be in danger of becoming a Grumpy (not that) Old Man. If I was, I’d rather complain about stuff that mattered, like war and/or poverty. But then I wouldn’t be conforming to a stereotype, would I?

Thought so.