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Fight for this love... for a bit.

Sunday Feb 21st

"You've got to fight, fight, fight, fight! Fight for this love! You've got to - what? He's cheated, again? This is bulls---! I want a divorce".

Good to see they've finally put those sham marriage rumours to bed.

Sort of reminds me of Amy Winehouse and her song: "You tried to make me go to rehab an' I said a no, no, n - oh alright then".

I was left feeling discombobulated when a mate of mine mentioned he found Mrs Cole attractive. I fired back with the fact I think the Winehouse is quite nice as well, confusion all round.



Our microwave has gone. My girlfriend says smoke was pumping out of the metal grill on the side. Not a good sign.

I've always had a bit of a fear of microwaves. Particularly their ability to go all sparkly and crackly when you put a metallic or reflective substance in by accident. I once read that they could easily be turned into powerful beam weapons that would be a boon to terrorists*.

I've often left the room as a microwave works its mysterious magic just in case it decides to explode for no reason. It's nothing other than a bonus that it was my little lady that saw it smoking in the kitchen.

I'm currently sat waiting for my oven to cook up some Ken Hom for lunch. Man, he does amazing ready meals!


* "Inventors claim to turn 300 microwaves into megawatt energy weapon" - click here.

Underground fighting.

Friday 19th Feb

I'm sat on the tube, it's quite crowded. A woman in her fifties looks down the carriage and gasps in shock at something going on further down. A rush of people move back from the area she looked at, which is obscured from my sight by the people who are stood up in front of me.

I can hear the sound of someone being silently punched. Flesh on flesh. It's not clear from what I can hear who is punching who, or why. There's no swearing or shouting but I can see from the look on people's face's that an act of nasty violence is taking place. The doors of the tube close. Is no one going to do anything? Are the two people who were fighting still on board? I don't see anyone at the platform as we ride off.

There's no talking or noises other than the tube train itself as we thunder along. Just a gang of kids, maybe 17/18 pulling faces at each other and laughing a bit. One of them is little with a very red face so I presume he was involved in some way. I've sort of half witnessed a crime of some sort but there's no real acknowledgement now by anyone that anything has happened.

The silent expressionless faces of the tube riders only betray a little look of shock. My stop arrives, I get off. The machine moves on and I go above ground.


My fireplace.

You'll notice that in the side bar I've started putting the top five entries in order of popularity. This is a vague attempt to help the new readers settle in to this, initially almost impenetrable, blog. Readership is back up to one of its peaks but a lot of people are clearly a bit bamboozled by it as I've gone back to posting one entry per day. This means it's not a blog with a clear purpose or agenda just idle daily musings. My idea is that the hardcore who read each entry can act as sort of unpaid editors, filtering out the 'good' bits for me and the wider readership. A tick in one of the little boxes at the bottom of each entry goes towards the its points total.

However, I'm confused by the fact that one of my most 'popular' entries is about my open fire. Proof that democracy isn't always a good idea.

Still, ever the populist, you'll notice I've included a photo of the famous open fire in this entry.


A Brit depressing.

Wednesday 17th

I have no idea why I watch things like The Brit awards. I try to blame it on my girlfriend but I was still watching them long after she'd gone to bed. What struck me is how outdated both Liam Gallagher and Peter Kay looked. It was a bit depressing to see the two of them parading their old hat acts like the establishment figures that they are.

Liam threw his award into the crowd and dropped his microphone. As he left the stage Kay called him a "knobhead". Fair comment and the only genuinely interesting moment of the night.

Peter Kay was really funny once. Fortunately for him this moment was caught on video and is called 'Peter Kay - Live at the Top of the Tower'. It's a stunning live performance and a masterclass in comic delivery. He's just never quite managed to hit those heights ever again.

As for Liam Gallagher, he's a good singer but personality was never his strong point. It was always his brother Noel who provided the entertaining quotes and interviews. I'll never forget watching Noel on some late night music TV show. It was called, something like, 'The White Room'. There was a load of pretentious musicians sitting round talking to, someone like, Jo Whiley about how tough it is to be an artist and getting hassled by papparazi etc.

Just to put this in context, the show was being broadcast in 1994, during the post 'grunge' era. Being depressed ment you were clever and 'deep'. I was sat there absorbing all the difficult arty vibes of whoever it was going on about how hard it is to play guitar and bare your soul. Then up pops this northern bloke who told them to stop moaning "it's great having people ask for your autograph". He had the attitude of someone who was loving his moment in the sun. I couldn't believe how rude he was being to the other guests. I was hooked!

When I heard that he was the bloke behind this new band Oasis who'd released the song "Supersonic" my whole attitude to life changed. It sounds silly but the fact they were from the north made me feel proud of our shared roots.

For the most part Liam didn't do interviews.

Watching him tonight made me feel embarrased.

Then John Lennon came on flogging cars*.


*Link to Marketing Week about the car ad featuring John Lennon: CLICK HERE.

Angry pancakes

Shrove Tuesday.

My girlfriend asked for pancakes when she came back so I picked up some pancake mix on the way back from the gym. It's easier than dicking about with flour. "Right, this should be easy," I thought to myself as I popped the radio on and got to work.

About an hour later and I was shouting and swearing at the "non stick" pan which quite clearly didn't understand the prefix 'non'. There was a plate with my aborted attempts at pancakes sat on it: two or three blobs of gooey crap. In came my girlfriend all excited about pancakes. "I've brought some bits of chocolate," she announced as she came into the kitchen.

I peeled off the one pancake I'd managed to make and put it on a plate. I was in no mood to eat it. I tried to make another one without success.

My girlfriend ate the pancake.

"You can taste the anger in it, angry and pancakes are two words that don't mix".

She had a go at making one, with success, even flipping it!

I ate a bit of the pancake - it didn't taste very nice. Something was clearly wrong with the batter.

I ordered a Chinese instead. Turns out it was also Chinese New Year so they gave us a little new year present.


It's been a tough few days for Tess

"I've never quite understood newspapers and their obsession with age," said Nick Margerrison, 32, writing in his blog today.

When I was 15 or 16 it gave me the impression that all famous people were old. Then it started to be the case that there were people appearing in the papers who were about my age. Now a lot of them are either my age or younger. As I've mentioned in a recent entry, I'll be 33 soon and it's clearly playing on my mind a bit. However, hopefully it's not going to worry me as much as poor attractive Tess Daly, the wife of Vernon Kay. Recently she's aged two years in as many days.

If you've got a life you might not be aware of the recent text sex saga between rent-a-grin Vermon Kay and various page 3 girls. Vermin has been sending rude texts to woman behind the back of his attractive wife Tess Daly*. Here's a quote from the first article about it:

"Kay always worried Tess, 38, was on to his games."

Here's another only days later regarding how she was coping:

" ... her spokeswoman said she would instead be 'taking some time out'.

The cancellations come as Tess, 40, battles to patch things up with TV star husband Vernon Kay, who admitted sending explicit sex texts to five women behind her back

Oh dear, she's aged two years! Poor woman.

In the unlikely event that she lands on this blog as she trawls the internet through tear stained eyes with a bucket of ice cream and a half empty bottle of wine on the go here's my message to her:

You look 32 at the most.
It is cheating. Dump him, he's a nob.


*Oh come on. She's hot. My girlfriend doesn't think so. Neither does anyone else I've said this to but come on! She's hot!! People who say otherwise are just trying to be clever. Like people who say The Beatles aren't very good. They are and she is.

"What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"

Sunday 14th Feb - Valentine's Day

For some reason the 14th of Feb is one of the most important days on the calendar, if you're a girl. I've never understood why that is but my life has been significantly easier ever since I accepted it. I was chatting to a taxi driver about this and he said "if it's about telling your woman you love her then, well, every day is valentine's day right?". There was a little moment as we both looked at each other and then we both started laughing.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not the Scrooge of Valentine, me and the lady went to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. The condition was that I couldn't slag the film off or point out the rubbish bits. My girlfriend gave me a strict warning "don't ruin the film after with sarky comments". It's for this reason that I've never been able to watch Sex in The City. I gather that it't a film about how women define themselves by their relationship to men?* To be honest there was no real need for conditions, despite not being the sort of thing I'd make a point of watching it was a good film. It's interesting to me that Audrey Hepburn prefigures this "size zero" type that we're being told is a new phenomena these days.

My girlfriend loved it.


*I just can't resist pulling it apart. Despite not having seen it. Oh dear.

My grain

Saturday 13th Feb

My vision was out when I woke up today. I couldn't see my middle finger when I put my hand up infront of my face. This is always a sign that I'm coming down with a migrane. The first time I ever got one was back at University when I woke up nice and early for a lecture. I lay on my bed in the morning sun reading a copy of Viz magazine knowing I didn't have to set off for another twenty minutes or so. Then I noticed it was a copy of Vz magazine as opposed to Viz. I couldn't see the "i".

It's very a odd experience. There's no blur, nothing, just the middle part of my sight is missing. Whenever this happens I feel fine but I know that it's a warning sign that there's a killer headache on the way.

The problem with migranes though is that they tend to stick around via a groggy feeling for a few days after. I made the mistake of mentioning it on my radio show because I was still feeling a little cloth-headed. This always results in a flood of emails/texts telling you what might be wrong with you. Some of them are really useful but others are absolutely terrifying.

In the event that I do die of some horrible brain haemorrage this blog entry (and ones like it) will take on an air of pathos. However, given that they are not regular occurances I'm not going to bother my doctor about it just yet.


How to defend yourself against books about alien abduction.

Sometimes you spot a classic simply by its title. I'm hoping the book I now hold in my hand is an example of one: "How to defend yourself against alien abduction". It only cost £2.50! A priceless gem like this for such a paltry sum? I couldn't believe my luck as I stared at it in the second hand book shop. I'm currently on chapter one: "What on earth is going on?". I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far.

If you want the potted version, from the looks of it, there are nine core methods to avoid alien abduction with:

1. Mental Struggle
2. Physical Struggle
3. Righteous Anger
4. Protective Rage
5. Support From Family Members
6. Intuition
7. Metaphysical Methods
8. Appeal to Spiritual Personages
9. Repellents

I can't wait to find out what repellents will fend off aliens. I'm hoping it'll be smells, like garlic and/or farts. Eat a big curry or some baked beans to ward off the anal probe!

The back of the book carries a ringing endorsement from non other than my old friend Dr Edgar Mitchell "This is a very powerful book [...] does us all a great service".

I look forward to posting a full review of my new purchase on this blog in the near future.

Like a fine wine.

Soon I will be 33 years old. This is supposed to be the age Jesus was killed on the cross having begun his ministry when he was about 30. It's a big number in Freemasonry, 33 degrees. It's also a significant Discordian number in that it is two sets of three. So it's a twenty three*. For me it's a bigger deal than when I was 30 in that I will finally feel like I'm 'old'.

Not 'old' as in 'past it' but 'old' as in - without question an adult.

I've spent most of my life feeling 'old/past it'. I remember going into a nightclub at the age of 19/20 and thinking I was too old for loud music and dancing. Being 'old/past it' is a state of mind and it's one I've enjoyed for most of my life.

However, being 'old' as in, an adult is quite different. It's like the first time someone calls you a man in an entirely descriptive context and without irony. Usually someone you don't know in a shop or something. "Can you just serve this man here while I go and do the till?" Ooo - I'm a man now. Quite an odd little moment.

33 will be one of those moments.

No plans to have a party. Think I'll just sit and stare at a wall wondering where it all went wrong**.

*Obviously I'm aware that numerology is another word for nonsense but if you want to follow this path there's a link here to a previous entry.

**Joke. Going to go out for a meal with the lady.

I've got wood

A next door neighbour left a load of wood outside their house today so I popped over and picked it up for my open fire. This will save me about £20-£30. You can imagine my excitement when another neighbour saw me carrying the wood and said "ooo - do you burn gear? I've got some you can have as well". Actually you probably can't imagine my excitement. Having an open fire is quite a specialist thing. You're a member of a very exclusive club when you have one.

We're looking at moving house soon and if we do I'll miss my old open fire. We've had some good times together. It's often more fun to watch than a telly.

It's also quite a manly thing, making a fire. There aren't many things I can do that are tough guy alpha male based tasks. I can't rewire a plug. I can't fix the fan belt on a car. I've got no idea about things like plumbing or roofing but I can make a good fire.

Usually I can. Unless I've got guests, then I mess it up and get embarrassed.


Discordian Prophets

Alan Watts - I recently got an email off someone thanking me in the most enthusiastic terms for introducing him to The Voice Of Clarity. I suggest you search out some of the podcasts which are available to subscribe to via iTunes. They make for good relaxing rambles.

Terrence McKenna - Bill Hicks references him in one of his stand up sets. He featured on a track by The Shaman. He's also one of the most interesting orators to have ever lived. He's a psychedelic evangelist and, while I offer more than a note of caution in that direction, even without stimulants he's got a lot of interesting ideas to offer you. There's some great fan vids on YouTube and his talks are available via The Psychedelic Salon.

Robert Anton Wilson - Pope Bob. Robert Anton Wilson is the unassuming granddaddy of them all. Search out the film "Maybe Logic" and give it your time. He's also a great writer, Cosmic Trigger, is one of the best esoteric books I've read. His genius sneaks up on you like a thief in the night.

Richard Dawkins - Forget The God Delusion, it's not his best work. The real hidden gem is one called The Blind Watchmaker. It takes you, by the nose, through the finer points of evolution by natural selection. It's easy to understand and more than worth the effort.

Captain Beefheart - finest vocal chords ever to tackle psychedelica.

John Martyn - now that's how you play a guitar.

Eris - Hail.

Rhod Gilbert and agressive surrealism.

I went to see Rhod Gilbert recently, he's a comedian who is currently touring with a show called "Rhod Gilbert and The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst". It was brilliant. He has a ranting style which I'm sure has developed quite considerably since the last time I saw him. Most surrealists seem to be under the impression that you have to present your material in a spaced out manner if it is going to work. Rhod Gilbert walks the fine line between truth and fiction with a passionate edge to his voice. Not all of his material fits the description 'surreal' but the best bits were pretty far out.

What I particularly enjoyed about the show is there's no way I could see something like that working on the television. It would have to be sanitised. There's no substitute for live comedy. Actually being there as someone dishes out their version of funny. The comedy world is apparently making more money than ever before as the recession takes its teeth to our wallets. People need cheering up. Sales at the Fringe recorded an all time high. The venue for Rhod Gilbert was packed.

Stand up is still fairly new to the UK in its current form. If you've never bothered to get out of the house to watch someone do it I suggest you make it a must. The small screen just doesn't do it justice. As long as you pick a good comedian you'll potentially end up with a serious live comedy habit.

If you've seen a good comedian post his name in the comments section. Then go look at - the best comedy website around.


In defence of dogs

7th February.

This is a great website: DOIDS. It stands for "Dogs only in driver's seat". Brilliant news.

Talking of which, here's another good website: Dogs In Cars.

I've been a fan of dogs ever since I was given one at the age of about 14. The irony at the time was that I had a real fear of them. I'd freeze on the spot if I saw one and hated having to spend time near them. There was no reason for this, it was a totally irrational inexplicable phobia. I think I caught it off my grandad who also wasn't keen on them.

My road to Damascus conversion came when our little Labrador puppy arrived in the house after Dad went and selected him from a nearby farm. He looked so sorry for himself that I instantly fell in love. He was easily as frightened of us as I'd ever been of a dog.

What I liked about my dog is that he was charmingly thick. We used to frequently go to a hill in a nearby park where I'd stand on the top with a stick in my hand. He'd then run round and round the hill in anticipation of me throwing the stick. He'd run himself to the brink of absolute exhaustion and all you had to do was stand on the hill with the stick raised. It was one of his favourite games.

Intelligence isn't likely to win you friends. It's commonly associated with deviousness and hierarchy. The phrase "no one likes a smart arse" is powerfully true. When I read that, according to new research from the university of Bristol, dog owners are not as clever as cat owners it made me smile. Us dog lovers and our pets might not be as smart as our feline owning counterparts but I'll bet we've got more friends and have more fun. The stereotypical cat lady archetype springs to mind: a woman who lives alone with loads of cats.

We used to own cats as well, I was born into a household with three of them. They weren't as much fun. Cats can sit on your lap for hours and then without warning scratch you and run off. Very odd creatures. I often wonder if I had encounters with the cats as a baby which informed my opinions on them in later life. Nowhere near as much fun as my little doggy playmate and his running round a hill trick.


Yoga hurt?

I've started going to Yoga. What I mean by that is, I've been to one class. It was good fun but I was the only bloke there. I'm also currently very fat so I quickly discovered that there are only so many positions into which you can stretch a body that is is essentially a spherical blob. I took the advice of the instructor and did the moves at 'my own pace'. However some of the women were really pushing themselves. It was quite eye-watering. Then while we were bending against the wall pulling our knees and "breathing into the stretch" the whole class heard an almighty snap!

I couldn't look. This was exactly what I'd worried about when my paranoid mind heard I was going to yoga. Some goon had clearly popped one of their legs! But, when the expected screams didn't come and laughter followed, I worked out the noise had come from the fabric of someone's pants. Two girls ran out of the room giggling with one of them fixing their jogging bottoms. The horrific accident that had been playing out in my mind started to die down a bit. Thank god I didn't have to see a limb that'd popped out of someone's socket.

It reminded me of a time when I was about 14 or 15 and learning Karate*. The whole class was watching two of the adult students having a little practice fight when the "sensi"** got very annoyed with one. He grabbed the student he was angry with and said:

"Don't have your hands open like that! I'll fight you in real life if I see you doing that again!"

The atmosphere in the room went a bit sour and the practice resumed with the general feeling that this "sensi" was a little highly strung. The student in question had been fighting with his palms open and his hands outstretched instead of the usual fists.. The fight re-commenced and he proptly ignored the advice from "sensi," went in to block one of his opponent's kicks and SNAP - broke a finger. It was his middle finger and it almost snapped in half.

There was a silence, the man looked at his broken finger, holding it infront of his face and then running up to the "sensi" to show him. All of this happened in stunned silence and it was one of the most surreal things I've ever seen. Everyone in the class just looked on in horror as the guy who was known ever since as "banana finger" ran out of the room followed by some of the other class members and of course "sensi".


*Have you noticed that no one calls it that anymore? It's "Ju-Jistu" or "Mixed martial arts". Both Karate and Kung Fu seem old fashioned these days. I got something like an orange belt and was told that now, in the event of a fight, I had to warn any assailant that my hands and feet were deadly weapons. Even then that seemed laughable and I wouldn't be surprised if I discovered the bloke who told me that was taking the frozen peas. Nowadays I think there'd be nothing less likely to make a situation worse than proudly announcing to a potential attacker: "stand back, I know Karate!". Unless their laughter gave you the chance to make a getaway.

**"Sensi" - means teacher. Why do people insist on using foreign words like that when teaching an eastern discipline? It was the same in meditation. The woman in charge kept telling us to get into our "arse err...". According to google she must have meant "asana" which means pose. The way she was saying it left her open to misinterpretation. Why not just say "pose" & "teacher"?

Was Douglas Right?

[T]he poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

The above passage disturbed me when I first read it back in secondary school. I've never been able to work out if it's true that in the event of all barriers to communication finally dissolving we'd have more or less conflict. I'm starting to think we might be the first generation to find that out, once and for all.

True communication is only possible between equals. To even enter into a correspondance with someone you are, like it or not, either elevating that person or lowering yourself. If the end result of this is that overall our society's consciousness is going to be elevated by this process then I'm all for it. There is however the possibility that ultimately the thick majority will pull us all down.

Back in January there was a TV show called The Persuasionists which aired its first episode on BBC2. It featured a bloke called, Iain Lee, who posted the following updates on his twitter account on the day of broadcast:

12:50 in the afternoon to one of the writers: "I'm scared".
2:58PM to everyone: "The Persuasionists starts tonight at 10 on BBC2. My mums got button 2 so that counts as proper telly"

Then the show was broadcast.

His next update, at 7:14AM, was: "There are only so many times I can be called a cunt on Twitter in one day. just doing my job. With that, I delete twitterific from my phone."

He spent 10 days away from the site.

The story was picked up by the website Chortle under Iain Lee's Twitter abuse. This was how I found his updates and realised there was a tiny chance I'd been part of the torrent of criticism he might have encountered that night/morning.

I'd sat down to watch the show with my laptop and Twitter on the go. I'm a fan of one of the blokes in it, Adam Buxton, so my hopes were high. Sadly I thought the show was very poor and I went online to have a look at what others thought, one poster pointed out that of all the opinions being shared there were only two positive tweets by the time the show finished. Mine ended up being:

11:06PM: "Ooo - bit of a stinker: #persuasionists. A TV show with the (usually) very funny Adam Buxton in it."

However, rather stupidly, it didn't occur to me that anyone connected with the show might look at this huge mass of comments, to which I'd added. I didn't call anyone a rude name but I hadn't helped either. The resulting fall out just made me feel sorry for everyone involved*. The final barrier to communication is slipping away; intent. Like it or not I was part of the avalanch of criticism. Any person involved in that, admittedly rather poor, sitcom will have found my words when they googled themselves.

Schools are currently struggling to deal with nasty comments both intended and otherwise posted by children about each other and even teachers. In November the Government started a campaign to stop 'cyber-bullying' with the help of pop band N-Dubz. The strange case of Costas Dinos Contostavlos, or “Dappy” from the band N-Dubz has been reported elsewhere but the facts are that he took down the phone number of someone who texted a radio show he was on to say that his music was lame and he was a "numpty in a shit hat". This was after the radio presenter** had asked people to review N-Dubz's latest tune (or is it choon?). Despite the message not actually getting any air time the "numpty in a shit hat" wanted his revenge, so he sent abusive comments to the phone, which belonged to a young woman, including the threat "your gonna die". During the phone conversation which followed, “numpty in a shit hat” dished out expletives and more bile to this 22 year old lady.

Once this story hit the news stands Government minister Ed Balls had to retract his previously glowing comments regarding Dappy, who went from him being one of the "great ambassadors" in the fight against bullying to a man whose behaviour was "completely unacceptable". Just to put this in context here's a quote from the days when Dappy was a 'great ambassador': "if we see the bullies you know what we're going to do is bully the bullies back, you get me?".

The above examples make me think Douglas was right and the internet is going to cause us to get more angry with each other than we did previously. On the other hand I wrote a review of a book on this blog recently only to have the author contact me and say thanks. It's not all bad news.

I think perhaps the internet will ultimately act as a sort of giant mirror which humanity will collectively look into and see its own ugly face staring back. Perhaps this will be the first step towards our collective consciousness becoming self aware. Ancient mythological protocols have God looking in the mirror until another self incarnates where once was his reflection. This is preserved in the idea that God makes man in his own image. The conflicts to come will perhaps represent humanity preening itself in the mirror, cutting it's hair and learning to live with some of it's uglier unfixable features.

If that's true then this entry forms part of that process and clicking the "boring" box is your way of wiping a bit of dirt off mankind's metaphorical face of consciousness. Or not.


*Adam Buxton posted an amusing video about the critical fall out: ADAM-BUXTON.

**Can't remember his name, the radio presenter. I know he listens to my show, perhaps he reads this blog. Err, nope, can't remember who he is...

Peter Andre seems like a nice bloke

Celebrity and news are two words that don't really belong together but we get the media we deserve in this country. Currently there's a big outcry against, Kay Burley, the Sky News presenter in this clip (above) who apparently makes, Peter Andre, cry by asking some pretty harsh questions. The anger directed at her has left me confused. She's a journalist, her job is to ask tough questions. He's a reality TV star, his job is to make good bits of telly. Both of these people are doing their job, yet the comments section of YouTube reveals all sorts of bile being directed towards her*. Now, with it being the infamous You Tube comments section I guess it's hard to be surprised that there are people who think "people like this need to be bloody sacked, what happened to respect".

Then again on her blog you've got well over 400 comments, most of them vicious:

"I don't think of myself as a violent person, but [...] I [want]to smack her face!"

"I have never botherd with news stories before but when I watched this discusting interveiw I was angerd, Kay should be ashamed of what she's done to pete"

"I have registered with the site solely to register my outrage, and that is not too strong a term. [...] SKY, get rid of this dreadful insensitive odious woman NOW"


Now, clearly a lot of these people are morons, but the point is that this level of 'public outrage' at a woman who was doing her job now means Ofcom are involved. The Press Association reported at around 5 o'clock today that "broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had received complaints about the interview [...and is yet to decide...] whether or not to launch an investigation.".

All this because she did her job as a journalist and asked some tough questions. The reason celebrities feature in the news is because of economic pressure. It was resisted in his country for many years but in the end the need for bigger audiences caused the news media to break. This was driven by the need to cater to the sort of people who are now outraged, Peter Andre, was interviewed by a journalist. Now those same people are demanding that we have journalists who do not ask tough questions. As I said in opening, we get the media we deserve in this country.


*I'm reminded of a link someone sent me on Twitter that I posted recently.

You think you've got problems? I can't find the cheese grater.

3rd of February.

I bought some cheap cheese last week. It was only about a quid for a big selection tray of the stuff, the only drawback being that it went off that day. I polished off the camembert first with a breadstick. Lovely. Then I had a good go at the rest of it the next day, to the horror of my girlfriend, "you've eaten loads of that cheese, in one night?".

This morning I found it again in the fridge. There was a chunk of edam and another one which I couldn't identify. Now, that's some pretty old cheese I've just melted and devoured on top of the last of the brown bread. I wonder how long until I'll know the full consequences of my actions?

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars" -- Carl Sagan

Obama has cancelled the mission to the moon which was set to happen towards the end of this decade. Budget cuts mean that America has limped out of the space race with their President describing their ambition as: "over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation". To my mind it has always been a straight choice for the human race, war or space exploration. Hence the opening quote from Carl Sagan. Either we'll all kill each other or we'll answer the challenge set by the stars. We can't do both.

The Mirror reports:

"One of the few areas to escape the axe is defence, with a further £120billion ear-marked for the war in Afghanistan over the next 18 months after the latest surge of 30,000 extra troops."

I was at the tail end of the generation of boys who could dream of being an astronaut. Nowadays I suspect they'd much rather you dreamt of joining the army. It seems so squalid and pathetic that the human race hasn't got together and sorted itself out yet. Each night we can see the galaxy wrapped around us and yet instead our eyes seem to be focused on the mundane.

Add to that the growing number of people who think we didn't even go there in the first place and you've got a picture of a civilisation in decline. It's no consolation that I predicted this in a previous entry.

Well, he did make Titanic.

Firstly, I've seen better 3D than Avatar. I watched a documentary at the IMAX about Dinosaurs in the sea, it was called Sea Monsters and it was made by National Geographic Channel. I know that doesn't quite fit with all the hype we're being fed about this, James Cameron blockbuster, setting 'a new standard' but there we are.

Secondly, I'm tired of being lectured by pr#cks about things that aren't my fault. Without spoiling the film I'll just give you a quick idea of what it's about. Some evil greedy humans go to a planet called Iraq* which is populated by magical ten foot smurfs. The evil greedy humans are only there to steal oil** from the smurfs. There's your pitch I'll not tell you how it ends, ooh - the suspense!

The problem with the film is it really is as blatant as I'm suggesting. There's even a point where one of the evil humans shouts out, "we're going to have to fight a war on terror, time for some shock and awe". At that point I half expected him to face camera and say to the audience;

"do you see? It's just exactly like Iraq. We're showing you what's happened in Iraq. That's what this film about. It's about Iraq. See all the nice kind smurfs? They're the good kind simple folk of Iraq they are. You evil pigdogs are killing them with your greed! I hate you lot!! You're all a bunch of c###s!!!"

It's ironic that the film was preceeded by an advert designed to tell people with the intelligence of a child about man made global warming:


I notice that the advert missed out the bit where the scientists lie about the himalayan mountains, keep their information to themselves and fall foul of the data protection act. Still, why get bogged down with details?

As I drove away from the cinema with my girlfriend I heard a news report about the real world version of Iraq where a female suicide bomber has blown herself up amidst other Iraqi people during a religious festival. The ten foot smurfs didn't do that sort of thing in James Cameron's version. Perhaps if they had it would have made for a better film, details tend to improve one's argument. Opposing war in such simplistic terms reflects badly on all of us.

It's ironic therefore that not only was the documentary I mentioned in opening better in terms of the 3D effects, it was also much more interesting. It included all sorts of fascinating details about "Sea Monsters" which I'm confident I can rely upon in the real world.


*Joke, it's not called Iraq but it may as well have been.
**Second joke. It's not called oil but I challenge any reader who has seen it to tell me what it was called.

Toby Carvery or Toby or not?

I'm writing this entry with a very specific purpose. It's real title is "Toby or not?" but I've popped the first bit in there to help search engines and allow it to its target: whoever is responsible for refurbishing the Toby Carvery I went to today. You've ruined it!

Hardcore regular readers of this blog may remember my frequently documented obsession with Toby Carvery which goes back many years. I've always managed to find one no matter where I live: ENTRY ABOUT "CARVERY CLUB" 1, ENTRY ABOUT "CARVERY CLUB" 2. Furthermore I celebrated the aftermath of my 30th birthday there and make a point of going at least once a month, you don't get a body like mine without a certain level of dedication to the cause.

If you've never been to a Toby Carvery you'll be unaware that these sacred pubs are firstly excellent carverys. The food is brilliant. The decor has never been fantastic. Usually the interior of a Toby would be pictures of old comedians and saucy 'politically incorrect' seaside postcards. Bit crap but inoffensive. The same cannot be said of the new look sported by my local version of the chain. They've opted to put up pictures of celebrity chefs in one of the most disapointing refurbs since The Library of Alexandria was re-worked in 642AD.

It's as if a team of people have sat around somewhere* and gone, "what do the proles like that's connceted to food?". Then some bright spark has gone, "Jamie Oliver, people like him don't they? He's pukka!". Things have clearly escalated out of control from that point onwards. The end result is that I feel like I'm sat in what it is, a crappy theme pub that does ok food.


*Probably in the same room M&S decided to call some of their biscuits "yummy".

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