Wednesday, September 30, 2009

G is for


As in Monopoly and Scrabble, which are the main two really aren't they? Trivial Pursuit is just rubbish; an infuriatingly slow and dull game in which piece of 'pie' must be won by answering questions that range from the utterly banal, to the sublimely hard: 'The answers is moops'.

Scrabble is a game I like though. Remember a couple of years ago it became massively popular due to Scrabbulous on Facebook? Then Hasbro got a bit irate and told them to take it down. It was nice while it lasted and in that time me and my old housemate played it a lot and both got quite good at it.

Monopoly is good too, but requires a pre-game agreement, verbal or not, between all players to take it seriously and accept they could be in for the long haul. I like the Greens and Browns myself; everyone has a favourite set, don't they?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

F is for...

Fleet Foxes

When I and my ex-housemate were in training for the London Marathon (which seems a life time ago now), one of our training runs was at Silverstone race course for a 1/2 marathon, which you can read about here.

To get there we rented a car and drove the 75 miles or so up the motorway; it was a fun day out. On the way there, and back, we listened almost exclusively to the Fleet Foxes debut album to the point where now, whenever I hear Ragged Wood, or Sun it Rises, or any tracks from that album I can conjure up, or at least recall dimly, the sensation of that day. Hurtling down the motorway in the early morning sun, the sky a sharp blue, the air fresh with the mixture of spring warmth and chill, or later, sitting in the stationary car with the sun pouring in as we waited to enter the car parks, sitting in a traffic jam on the motorway heading back home, and the rest.

It's fascinating that music can become so synonymous with a situation or location that for days, months and even years after you only have to hear a line, a certain guitar intro, a piano fill, and you can be instantly transported back to another time, another place.

Monday, September 28, 2009

E is for


Maybe this will make me sound old but some people on the tube listen to their music far too loudly. This is not new of course, people have been complaining about this for a while; in fact the Underground people now put posters up telling people to keep their music down. What would our Victorian forebears have thought of this all. Why did Victorian's keep four bears anyway?

This morning on either side of the carriage were two young dudes, probably about the same age as me actually, whose music was deafeningly loud. One was listening to the fudge of noise that comes from incessantly heavy bass (what is the obsession with 'bass' anyhow?) while the other had on some Rage Against the Machine style shouty rock. I could hear the guitar solos, hear them moving around the fret board, hear the drums when they kicked in and so on. Both of them looked utterly devoid of any enjoyment in the music, devoid of much life anyway. Why the need for it so loud? Showing off? Deafness? Purposefully annoying other people?

Friday, September 25, 2009

D is for...

Dick Dastardly.

In Wacky Races Dick Dastardly would spend the entire show zooming ahead of the other racers to set elaborate traps. Hilariously these would always back fire leaving him looking foolish and his 'faithful' hound Muttley (great name) laughing at him - until scolded for doing so.

It made no sense. He had the fastest car. If he didn't stop to set needless traps he'd have won ever race by an absolute mile.

Old dogs

Have you ever seen New Tricks? I seem to have a magnet in me that means I end up watching it every week when I am in on a Thursday. I don't know why. It's hardly good, the stories are always a bit flimsy, and by the end I'm never sure I've even understood what the outcome was.

I studied crime fiction at university - and thoroughly enjoyed it - so I've always had a slight affinity to crime shows, but Old Tricks ticks none of the boxes and yet I still seem to watch it. Dennis Waterman's character is 2D but Amanda Redman is good. One character has disappeared but I am not sure if we know why or not and the other character - played by Alan Armstrong - is always involved in the slightly silly plots - making friends with a radio enthusiast, awkwardly confronting a 'Polish' builder who turns out to be Albanian etc. So all in all, it's a bit weird that I keep watching it. Or, more than that, keep finding myself watching it without every really planning to.

That's all really.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

C is for...


Have you noticed how creative everyone is? Everyone has a good idea, everyone is writing a book, or running a website, or painting, or writing music. Youtube is awash with talented amateurs singing, playing music and other such things. Any journalist you speak to seems to harbour ambitions of writing a novel or a work of non-fiction (I am no different) and so on.

What is creativity anyway? Where do ideas come from. The best book I have read this year was Leviathan (which I wrote several blog posts about). Where did the idea for that book come from? To write an entire book, a 400+ page piece of non-fiction, about whales. Whales. Why? In the bath? On a boat? Driving down the M4. Undoubtedly he had probably always thought whales were fascinating but to final conjure up the whys-and-wherefores of turning it in to a book is something else entirely.

I did creative writing at Cardiff for two years. I always did my best work when I was slightly hung-over, a bit punch drunk. I found my mind would be flitting around on to different subjects and more often than not one would become a credible idea. When I sat down to purposefully write something though, out of this state of mind, I would find inspiration impossible to come by. The shower is also a good place for ideas - although it's hard to write anything down when they do come. Paper goes soggy and laptops break.

And writing it down is the key. If you don't do that the idea always fades, even though when you thought of it, it seemed as if it was so good it would never leave you. I did National Novel Writing Month last year - 52,000 words in one month. It was hard work but the ethos of 'write anything, forget about how good it is' was an important one as it is much easier to go back and edit work you have written, rather than getting snow blindness but just staring at an empty Word document all day - 'you can't edit a blank page'.

Still, my book was terrible and has been consigned to the dustbin of history. But I've got this other idea...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You're not singing anymore

I went to Arsenal v West Brom last night as part of the usual once-a-year-Arsenal outing to the Carling Cup 3rd round (£10 tickets you see). It's always fun to go and be part of the throng of the crowd, cheer a few goals, boo a few villains etc and enjoy the pre and post match atmosphere.

One of my favourite things at football matches is the chants that make their way around the stadium. There were two good ones last night. At random moments the Arsenal fans would chant 'Who are ya?' at the West Brom fans who, after a moment of silence presented itself, would responded with, 'We are Al-bi-ion, say we are Albion'. It just seems so weirdly banal.

Second was the chant of 'Stand up...if you hate Tottenham, stand up...if you hate TottenHAM' (to the tune of, I believe, Go West). The best bit of this was when, as we started to hear the chant emanating from the other side of the stadium, two lads, no more than five or six-years-old, were the first to stand and in high, falsetto voices, proclaim their hatred for a bunch of people that live just a few miles north of them.

B is for...


A last minute request swung this one for me. Remember Angel Delight? I used to love Angel Delight, especially the strawberry flavoured stuff. Chcolate less so, but then I’ve always been a bit odd (apparently) in not liking chocolate based puddings (or not much anyway). Butterscotch though I couldn’t stand. In fact I doubt we had it more than once after the first time due to my protestations that it was ‘the most vile punishment ever ladled out upon man since the Tolpuddle Martyrs.’ I was a weird eight-year-old.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A is for...

It could have been aardvarks, it could have been Anne of Cleves, it could even have been Accrington Stanley, but no. My Great Twitter / Blog Crossover experiment (i.e. asking for people to suggest things beginning with A) resulted in anti-protons. So here are some words about a subject I know nothing about:

Anti-protons. Well, actually I am ProProtons. Or just Protons I suppose. I am also in favour of the unit of measurement known as a tonne. So I am Pro-tonne too. But I am no expert on this and so not a Tonne-pro.

Anti-protons are, actually, the opposite of protons. Obviously. If you wish to make them it's quite simple. Like any good journalist, I have taken the following from Wikipedia:

Their formation requires energy equivalent to a temperature of 10 trillion K (1013K). At CERN, protons are accelerated in the Proton Synchrotron (PS) to an energy of 26 GeV, and then smashed into an iridium rod. The protons bounce off the iridium nuclei with enough energy for matter to be created. A range of particles and antiparticles are formed, and the anti-protons are separated off using magnets in vacuum.

So you need a hoover, a fire and some iridium nuclei (most hardware stores stock this).

Now, before you go off to look for anti-protons you need to know they are really small. Think of a small bird - smaller than that. A grain of sand. Smaller than that. I mean they are really tiny. But if you stare long enough you'll see them dancing around with their little faces smiling up at you. Cute little things they are. In fact it's a little known piece of trivia but the Smiley Face is the exact anatomical structure of the face of an antiproton.

Perhaps I'll do B tomorrow - so if you want to suggest a topic, comment away...

Monday, September 21, 2009


T-Mobile have recently been vox-popping complete morons on the streets of Britain.

They have been doing this to ask them what they would do with free texts for life. The answers I have heard / seen are 'I'd text all my mates about my DJ night', and, 'I'd throw a huge party and invite all my mates'. My favourite is the person who just says, 'I don't know, it's mind-boggling'.

No it isn't. As my brother said to me, 'nothing of importance has ever been sent by text message. It's always stuff like "see you in 5" or "put it on bbc2".'

Spot on. Furthermore, those answers make no sense. If you've got a DJ night on surely you'd tell your mates anyway? What sort of a friend only texts mates about something as important as that (to him presumably) if he can do so via unlimited free texts for life. Similarly, if you have a party you would never decide on who to invite on the basis of the fact you can text everyone for free. It's a party! Send an email, make a phone call, or just take the 10p text hit.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meeting with disaster

I have always enjoyed a brief flutter on football. Nothing major, just a pound here or there. I do believe though that something is telling me to give up. Here are some bets I have lost recently.

In April I put a pound on a six way accumulator at 65-1 and with 5 results in the final score was 3-1 to the team I needed to win. There was 25 minutes to play and the other team came back to 3-3. Annoying.

Yesterday I had a four way accumulator at 24 to 1. With three games won, the fourth was one minute from finishing at the result I needed when Bolton equalised in the last minute of time to ruin that one.

Today, and this is the one that has a real air of finality about it, I had a hugely random, gut feeling 50p on United and City to draw 3-3 at 70 to 1. So £35 for 50p stake. This happened.

I've won some other smaller bets of six or seven quid but nothing of note. Winning 30+ is enough to cover tube travel or a weekly shop. You should understand I am not bitter, I am open enough to accept the money was never really mine and I have lost nothing (bar a pound or two) and I know gambling is for mugs, as the above proves, but there are some times when I do wonder if the fates have it in for me.

Or...perhaps they are saving me up for one massive pay day in the future...

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

Okay so the last line doesn't apply, but Kipling didn't live in the world of blogging and internet gambling.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A thousand monkeys...

Once, there was a monkey tribe who feared another monkey tribe. For you see, the second tribe had big stones they could throw quite far - far enough to hit the first tribe. The first tribe also had these weapons, had had them first in fact, but was a sensible tribe, with no rogue elements so that was okay.

To counter this risk the first tribe decided to ask another, independent tribe, if they could store some of their special stones in their land to be able to knock the rogue tribe's stones out of the air if they were ever thrown.

But, another tribe, who the first tribe had once been at war with, but had now become friends again - eaten some bananas together, picked nits etc - said, 'you can't do that, you might be tricking us and wanting to throw them at us!'. That idea didn't work.

So on it went, with stones stored in each country, tribe I mean, and each tribe was able to aim at each other tribe and each tribe claimed they had the best interests of their people in their actions, monkeys I mean, and so they looked at each other, all hoarding stones behind their backs, saying ' you shouldn't have those stones, you could have someone's eye out'.

But no one would give up their stones, so they continued to hoard them and now all the monkeys have stones and none will give up their stones, even though if they were to ever throw a stone the entire rain forest would be destroyed, forever.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Dan Brown is back (and this time he's personal). I read the Da Vinci Code (The answer was Paris, or Jesus, or birth. I forget) many years ago when it first came out because after a scathing, withering put-down of the book by my Dad (which included the family-famous line of 'Up yours ratso!') I felt compelled to read it. Funny how recommendations work isn't it?

Books. They've become massive again, to the point where that isn't even an issue. Harry Potter and Dan Brown - two insufferable people who have changed the face of publishing, in some ways. I can't stand HP and I'll happily never read another DB book. I've always wanted to watch the Da Vinci movie though after I heard that, apparently, during the press screening all the critics laughed at the line "Quick, to a library!" Who couldn't?

I am off to the Tate Britain in a moment where perhaps I will encounter a dying curator with a strange, cryptic message on the floor beside him and a beautiful yet highly talented female cryptologist will enter the room and together we'll decipher a series of yadda yadda yadda...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unexpected item in bagging area

Many years ago, well about five, I worked in ASDA on the tills. Oh, the times I had. But, like all good things, it came to an end. And, as I walked off into the sunset, waving once more to my green clothed colleagues and kicked my heels I thought, "Well, there's the obligatory supermarket job done, no more for me the scanning and packing of items..."

But, the supermarkets, not content with near world wide domination of our eating habits, have decided they can get us to do our own scanning and packing too. The self-service machines are the new choice of payment for today's fast-paced, latte drinking, 24/7, news junkies, as they are quicker and faster, and importantly involve no human interaction whatsoever.

What has happened to us? Why are we so keen to embrace this? We are slaves to the supermarkets already but now we're doing what is paid work for free. Up with this, we should not put.

I would suggest one of the two following options.

1) For using self-service you should get 1% off your bill. This won't be much each time you go, but over a year could add up to several pounds - about the same as an hour of work at the supermarket - which leads on to idea two...

2) They could time you from the moment you place an item down to the moment payment is made. They then work out what they would have paid you for this pro rata and this should come off the next bill.

On another, but relevant, point: Why do they say 'Unexpected item in bagging area". It's always something you've picked up in store so why is it so unexpected?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The end of (summer) days

I think the summer has ended. The last two weekends have had a mad end of summer holidays feel to them. London has been buzzing, more than usual, and there's been an air of congeniality usually not associated with the city - I've had more random conversations in two weeks than in 12 months.

Sitting on Southwark Bridge on Saturday afternoon, closed to traffic and home to a big street party event with alcohol and food, animals and wine pressing, there was a languid, soporific feel to it all, as if we knew this was the last warm sun of the year. Then on Sunday it was a brisk, fresh day with coats out in force and the sun's rays nowhere to be seen.

Now it's time for rain lashing windows, wind swirling fallen leaves across pavements, tube stations offering warmth and shelter (rather than stifling heat and imprisonment) and the ever-growing darkness as the sun's arc heads to its winter solstice.

Londoners do look smarter in the winter though. All scarves and coats, not flip-flops and shorts.

Photo round-up

Went to the Thames Festival on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. It was absolutely brilliant, with great food, music, fire and fireworks, and a great example of the never-ending cycle of London events that fill every weekend in the capital. A bunch of pictures to illustrate this.

Rowers / mad escapologist / carnival man / flaming orb / southwark bridge transformed x 3

Friday, September 11, 2009

True stories

It was only after the movie Forest Gump, and the famous saying “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” that chocolate manufacturers starting putting menu sheets in the boxes, having been alerted to this oversight.

The term Stand-up Comedy has only existed since 1971 when experimental comic JB Wollington (know to his fans as The Wolly) first performed standing up at a gig in Bristol. He was booed off stage within three minutes but the idea caught on. Before then all comedy gigs took place with the audience standing and the comedian sitting down which made Sit-Down Comedy hugely intimidating.

Where was I?

Talking about planes. That's what I was doing. Sounds made up but it's true. Just about how great it would be to own a private jet so you could fly to London from Cornwall, rather than taking the train. Why we were actually talking about this though is beyond me now.

Then a call from across the common room and on to an entire afternoon of confusion, bewilderment. And this was for people in Cornwall so far removed from the epicentre. Yet the same reaction for people in Times Square, Beijing, Kiev, no doubt.

There were so many ridiculous things that happened that afternoon. We had to go to geography and on arriving I informed the teacher of what was taking place. He was disinterested and refused to put the television on. I urged him this was massive news, we should watch, so he relented and put it on silent. Half-way through learning about central business districts we noticed that the Pentagon had been hit too. Still nothing registered on the geography teacher.

The next day, as confusion still reigned, our English teacher scrapped his lesson plan to look at the Iraq war, and poetry inspired by it, to give us some context of maybe why the day before had happened. His understand was stark contrast to that of Mr Geography.

Strange days.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Walking past the future

Having now been moved in to my new house for, ohhh, four days, I’ve been thinking about how often I must have walked past it before, without knowing it would become my new home. Probably not a great number of times, maybe 10 at most, and, of course, on those occasions I was utterly oblivious - it was just another house. But now it’s my home.

Where else am I walking past on a daily basis that could become part of my life? Or who else? Maybe nothing and no-one, maybe something massive. It’s intriguing to think of all these people and places you walk past that, barring some tragic accident, could well become part of your life in the future – or could cause the tragic accident. But right now we’re all just walking around oblivious to the potential future(s) in store – although for some today will be that day. The job interview, the date, the car crash.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

War: what is it good for?

Two things yesterday:

1) DSEi: This show is known to some as the Death Show and is not popular with those of certain moral view points. Entry was Kafkaesque, involving several queues to be placed in queues, much anger at how slow the entire process was, and even a bag search before you could go in, to the Excel Centre. Felt utterly bizarre. Once inside I saw many tanks, guns, rocket launchers, an Apache helicopter, and various Asian generals wandering around in full military regalia.

On one side of an aisle you've got weapon manufacturers or suppliers with posters and literature proclaiming their weapons can 'pierce the strongest body armour on the market!' and on the other you have body armour manufacturers and suppliers saying 'can stop the strongest weaponry on the market!' And all beneath the brightly lit, air-conditioned, Subway sandwich franchised Excel Centre. Last time I was there was to collect my marathon entry number. Very different indeed.

2) Frontline Club: Access Denied. A talk about reporting from war zones and the implications for journalists. With Richard Sambrook from the BBC, Adrian Wells from Sky News, Jean Seaton and chaired by Tom Fenton.

It was a very interesting chat, and the floor contributed a great deal too, with those in attendance ranging from Al Jazeera reporters, to the London press official for the Dalai Lama. They discussed the use of Twitter, the difficulties of getting certain stories on the news agenda when they cease to have a news currency, and the challenges of trying to get in to areas you're banned from. Wells told us that Sky News tried to access North Korea by asking to cover the North Korean karate championships (and then do some other things on the side) but were politely refused entry. Darn.

It seemed though, due to the most recurring point, that war coverage, or conflicting reporting, is impossible to cover in a way that will ever please everyone, or cover all the necessary angles. Nothing is ever two-sided and war is surely one of the hardest things to pin down as to the causes, the rights and wrongs, the outcomes and so on - almost all wars are debated hotly by historians to this day, despite years of time passing, collation of huge numbers of documents, and even access to the leaders' writings. What chance do news reporters have, often embedded with military staff who take them where they want them to go, have of getting a 'true' story out? Have they ever been able to?

Twitter and the like may give the populations a chance to present views from inside but, again, it just adds more voices that conflict, disagree, present different ideas, to a picture that is already completely confusing and impossible to view in full, objectively. It seems hard to believe war reporting will ever move to a time when 'black holes' of information don't exist, especially when authoritarian regimes like Iran, North Korea and so on, are so staunch in their position on allowing foreign news teams in.

A few people introduced themselves, when speaking from the floor, as 'news consumers'. So you watch TV?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Moving home is so sad

I moved this weekend. Not far, just a few streets really. Something about moving makes me strangely sad though. In fact it’s not the moving, it’s the unpacking. I think it’s because while unpacking you come across so many reminders of things, and most of these seem to be tinged with pathos.

The main thing seems to be finding things that have been bought for you – DVDs, shirts, books etc – that you rarely use, or have never used. Shirts that I’ve worn once, or DVDs I got for Christmas remain untouched, and somehow this just makes me feel bad, as if I’m just accumulating things that I don’t really need, that other people have bought for me with their own hard-earned money.

Not only that but there are so many other items; tickets, photos etc, that you come across as you move and unpack that remind you of times gone by, even if they were happy, and it just makes me melancholic to think of them. Something to do with the passing of time perhaps?

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Good form

I was thinking this weekend that the saying / phrase, ‘X was on good form last night’ is one of my favouite expressions. To say that someone was being themselves to the best of their ability is such a great form of speech, a reminder of why you're friends with some. Themselves³ if you will.

Incidentally my parents met Gavin Esler this weekend, who I met about a year ago, after interviewing his girlfriend Anna Phoebe. According to mother he remembered me and said I was a good journalist. Praise indeed. When I met him at one of her concerts, I also told him that Newsnight has the most rocking news theme of any on the tele. Which it does. Only Question Time comes close with that frantically fast piano-led piece.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Pound in the machine

Talking of tuck shops and vending machines yesterday reminded me of one of my favourite school time events: the trapped pound in the vending machine. Let me explain.

To stop pupils leaving class rooms mid-lesson to go and buy food from the vending machines they were set on timers so they only worked during the allotted break times of 11:05 – 11:25 and 12:50 – 2:10 (the machines, not the pupils, obviously).

However, the 20 minute gap in mid-morning break often meant a queue and a crush at each vending machine (there were only two!) and if you arrived there at 11:24 you took a huge risk that sometimes you’d enter the money, only for the machine to then ‘lock itself’ with your shiny, hard-begged for pound trapped inside. Additionally, the machine would proudly display that it had £1.00 inside for all to see. This unfortunate child would have to return to lessons, knowing the entire school was learning, through a series of Chinese whispers, lesson to lesson, that there was a pound trapped in the machine, ready to be spent by the first pupil to arrive at the machine at 12:50 when the machine decreed snacks could be bought once again.

However, lessons before lunch ended at 1:15. The 12:50 unlocking time was because sixth form pupils on free period could take lunch from that time. Still following? Good. This meant at 12:48 all across campus, cheeky little sods were sticking their grubby mits in the air, asking teacher to be excused for various reasons, and hurtling like mad towards the vending machine - usually along side the one, true, heir to the pound in the machine, who would never again be so foolish as to attempt to buy Nik Naks at 40p at 11:24.

Good times.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Crisps are funny aren't they? Little pieces of potato flavoured with all manner of combinations - cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, Thai chicken, Worcester sauce, and so on. Why are they so popular? What is it about crisp that makes them so necessary for snacking or lunch boxes?

Frazzles: A classic from primary school. You knew it would be a good day if mum had put frazzles in your Action Man lunchbox. Tasted great (in that fake food way) and left you with a tangy zing on the lips, and incredibly greasy fingers. Wonderful.

Quavers: Named after a form of musical notation, quavers are great fun to eat if you 'follow' the shape around as you eat. Try it, you'll see what I mean. How do they make quavers anyway? To create those shapes I mean? Anyone know?

French Fries: Never sure about these. Very confusing. Crisps, which are made from potatos, being shaped to look like chips, which are made from potatos, but called French Fries, the American name for chips. American's call crisps "potato chips". So in America French Fries would be thought of as potato chip chip crisps. Right?

Monster Munch: Utterly vile yet they have the word monster in so forever popular.

McCoys: I've written about the stupid adverts before, but as a crisp they can't be beat. Plus they have become the pub choice of crisp which is as it should be. Big, tasty, manly - sit perfectly next to a pint of lager. And come in a bag which doesn't try and con you about the amount of crisps within by adding extra height, like some do, which is always empty space. Think of the money Walker et al could save if they produced bags that fitted the crisp - and it would be good for the environment too.

Hula Hoops: As above, they use small bags so you know how many you get. Great fun for putting on your fingers and pretending they're rings. Soggy HHs are the worst though.

Skips: Fizzy little critters these. Never understood the name. They don't skip, they look more like limpet shells than a skip, and eating them doesn't cause an uncontrollable urge to skip everywhere. I'd have called them Fizzles - then you could mix them with Frazzles and have Frizzle Frazzles.

Pringles: A crisp with ideas above its station: shaped in the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid these strangely moreish things are most often seen at special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, family get togethers and wakes because, while being reasonably priced, they have an air of pseudo-sophistication you can't get with crisps. I mean, you can't just put some cheese and onion crisps in a bowl at Christmas can you?

Nik Naks: At my secondary school we went from having a tuck shop (how quaint) to soulless, faceless vending machines. This did mean the sudden arrival of these new and mysterious crisps called “Nik Naks”. The teachers, clearly not knowing what they were either, priced them at 20p (I guess it was the teachers anyway). As such, they were a popular choice before even tasted. But, the fact was, they were delicious! Especially the Nice ‘n’ Spicy flavour - covered in some sort of 'dust' and nobbly all over. Trouble was, the teachers soon got wise to the popularity and put the price up every term by 5p. Must have been the economic teachers. On it rose, 25p, 30p then a jump to 40p. We were outraged. But by now I was on the verge of leaving the school and my pocket money was probably up to about £2 a week so I didn’t really care as much as I let on in front of everyone else.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Regular readers (hello mum!) will remember my recent Whale posts,
one about Leviathan, or The Whale, one about Moby-Dick.

Someone I know runs a little fanzine in London called Tally Ho! and asked if I'd put my thoughts into a more coherent piece for the magazine. So I did. Click on the image to the right to read.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Office Politics

BBC2 showing the entire first series of The Office was an enjoyable treat and, as a convert to the American version (which is five seasons strong and still going at 100+ shows) it was a good reminder of just how different the two shows really are despite sharing a title and the same plot lines (in essence).

It would be fair to assume the American version would be an inferior remake but the two are very different and seeing the British one again was a reminder of why. While the American one is incredibly funny and full of pathos, like the British show, it is a fair warmer, more likeable place and the office itself seems like a nice place to work, despite some eccentricities. The Slough branch of Wernham Hogg looks like a soul destroying, grey, dreary place to work. Scranton in Pennsylvania has a sense of small town charm to it; their office looks warm, in temperature and in colour, while the corporate head quarters in New York, full of good looking, if idiotic, people. Even the bars in Scranton are fine, nice even. Chasers in Slough looks utterly grim.

Photo diary

I thought pictures would sum up the sort of things I got up to over the bank holiday weekend. Enjoy!