Monday, September 30, 2002
The best of September
Gadget of the month: My splendid new digital radio. Ok, it sounds better than it looks but, at last for under £100, perfect quality wireless. It took two months to find a shop that actually had one in stock, so scarce is the technology, but now at last I can listen to more than just the five BBC stations, cheesy commercial drivel, geriatric phone-ins and amateur interfering local pirates. Top 3 favourite digital stations so far: BBC 6music, Ministry of Sound and XFM.
Football result of the month: Arsenal: lots. Other teams: nil.
TV programme of the month: League of Gentlemen, series 3. It's special stuff. It's a precious thing.
Film of the month: The Bourne Identity. Refreshing to see a spy film set in Europe rather than America for once, and the first car chase to do justice to the humble Mini since The Italian Job.
Album of the month: Original Pirate Material by The Streets. I may be six months too late in buying the album, but this is UK rap as urban poetry and it's the perfect cockney geezer record. Essential. And should have won at the Mercury Music Awards - no contest.
Singles of the month: Strange And Beautiful by Aqualung and Starry Eyed Surprise by Oakenfold. Not necessarily in that order. Otherwise known to you as the music from the Volkswagen Beetle and Capital Radio TV ads.
Gig of the month: The Buffseeds and The Cling at the Dublin Castle. Take note - there is indie life outside the charts, and it rocks. But only in a very British sort of way of course. That's the lovely Kieran from the Buffseeds, by the way, in miniature.
posted 20:40 :
Sunday, September 29, 2002Touch typing
I never ever did work out how to touch-type. Consequently I still type very inefficiently using just two fingers. It could be much worse of course (my typing could still be one finger only) but two fingers is still piss poor for someone who spends so much of his life sitting in front of computers. However, there is this one specific letter key my left forefinger never does quite hit properly. It seems to be my timing which is the problem, so I'll often type this one key just slightly out of sequence. This letter then pops up in the wrong position, right next to where it should be in the word but swopped over with the letter next to it. I still don't know why this mix-up should keep on occuring but, subconsciously, it seems my fingers just don't process sensory instructions in the right order.
So, in writing this blog post I've decided not to use this one specific letter, not even once, just to ensure there's no risk of me mis-typing it in error like I so often do. If you look through the sentences I've written here you might well work out the identity of the omitted letter, the one key which might otherwise give me serious trouble. I just hope my typing skills improve in the future, else every post will need to be written this meticulously. Or else I'll need to buy anew keyborad. Bugger...
posted 14:43 :
Last Train To Epping
It's not quite the last train to Clarksville that The Monkees sang about, but it's still one of the world's great epic journeys. People gather, drunk, on the platforms at Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Holborn. They wait for ages, because there's a huge gap between trains at this time of night, trying hard in the meantime not to stagger off the platform onto the live rail. Then they crowd into the Cental Line carriages, in cattle-truck conditions reminiscent of the weekday rush hour. Some are still finishing off chips and kebabs, much to disgust of the nostrils of the majority. People try to grab a glimpse of the front of the early editions of the Sunday papers, disbelieving that John Major ever had a sex life, let alone with Edwina Currie. Around Bank the more inebriated passengers grab onto whatever or whoever they can, as the train careers violently from side to side round curves resembling a theme park thrill ride. A group of lads shout loudly across the carriage at each other in a foreign language - which might well have been English earlier in the evening. And at Mile End I escape across the platform to the waiting District Line train, happy to abandon the drunken revellers safe in the knowledge that I won't be ending up back in Essex with them by mistake.
posted 01:17 :
Saturday, September 28, 2002Welcome to the modern village
Guy Browning has written an article in the Guardian which sums up the whole nightmare and nothingness of village life.
"The modern village is defined as a small group of houses, none of which can get pizza delivered. Many urban dwellers have a secret dream of living in a beautiful collection of rose-covered cottages nestled around a wide village green and overlooked by the church spire and village pub. Many people who live in real villages also have this dream."
That's exactly how I felt about living in a village. That's exactly why I left one a year ago.
The Guardian article is magnificent. It's very accurate, it's very long, you can read it here and I wish I'd written it.
posted 16:43 :
Test: Oh fab - so that's how you do pictures :)
Test: And What's New Pussycat that's how you do web links :)
posted 09:58 :
Friday, September 27, 2002So here it is, Merry Christmas
Still three months or to go, and the first symptoms of festivitis are already apparent.
Cadbury's have started placing their overpriced tiny chocolate puddings by the tills in newsagents. Card shops are clearing out their selection of decent birthday cards in favour of nasty twee red and green robins. Parents have started asking you what your plans for Christmas are, like it actually matters yet. In a pub last week I heard them play Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade, but I suspect that was just someone being ironic with the jukebox. Somewhere, sadly, you just know that Will Young is busy recording his own Pop Idol version of White Christmas. And down at Tesco they've already stacked their shelves with Christmas stuff - crackers, cards, the complete range of christmas puddings, Quality Street selection boxes, wrapping paper, tinsel and chocolate advent calendars. Why, by the way, would anyone want to buy an advent calendar in September?
Please, let's kick Christmas back into December, or at least late November, where it belongs.
posted 23:13 :
Thursday, September 26, 2002Sniffle: On Monday morning I sat on the tube next to a 12-year old schoolboy who insisted on coughing and spluttering all over the surrounding carriage. When I went to work this morning, I was feeling fine, so I thought. Around mid-morning I started sneezing rather a lot. Around lunchtime my left nostril started to feel a little bit runny. By early afternoon I was getting my handkerchief out for the first time in months. Late afternoon and I was filling that handkerchief at regular intervals. On returning home I tried to track down the supply of clean handkerchieves I know have at the back of a drawer somewhere. Tomorrow I expect to wake up with a blocked nose, breathing like Darth Vader. No doubt I'll spend the weekend laid up in bed with a gallon of Beecham's. And, come Monday morning, I'm sure I'll be just well enough to go back to work, despite still feeling sub-standard. However, it'll be worth it just to cough all over that bloody 12-year old on the tube journey in again.
posted 20:03 :
Wednesday, September 25, 2002There's no place like home
Leeds: So, Leeds wasn't that bad after all. It's a city with style, and culture, and clubs, and life. It's a city with all the clothes shops you could ever want, from department stores to designer boutiques. OK, maybe David Beckham's blond mohican is still in fashion up there, but at least the streets are full of trendy young things and not tweedy green countrysiders. Leeds may well deserve its reputation as the great nightlife capital of the North, but I'm afraid it didn't feel like a 24-hour city. Just like everywhere else outside London, the city centre is pretty much a ghost town by 6pm on weekdays. I attempted to buy a Mars bar in the centre of town at half past six and it took me at least 40 minutes to find a shop selling one. Given that this was the highlight of my evening, I must say Leeds still has some considerable way to go before it could ever attract me away from the capital permanently.
Hotels: I don't get to stay in hotels very often, so a couple of nights in corporate luxury might sound very appealing. However, I'd forgotten that hotels still can't measure up to a night sleeping in your own home. The sheets on the bed are tucked in so tight that you can't pull them up, so the top half of your torso freezes overnight in the air-conditioning. There are no instructions next to the shower, so by the time you've worked out the how the temperature control works you've scalded half your body and frozen the rest. The fully mirrored bathroom is so well lit that you're forced to confront what your body really looks like at 7 in the morning. If you can be bothered to wait ten minutes for your mini kettle to boil, the ensuing cup of tea tastes so awful that it's tempting to open the mini bar and pay £5 for a bottle of tonic water instead. For your viewing pleasure the TV always has the same dull mix of news, business and sports satellite channels, along with a dodgy selection of pay-per-view heterosexual erotica, and an extremely worrying programme called 'Look North' featuring men with whippets and women with strange accents. The full cooked breakfast that looked so appealing on the first morning just looks like stodge on the second, and you end up spending an inordinate amount of time skilfully opening small jars of raspberry preserve for the feeble women dining at the neighboring tables. I suspect that hotels are far more enjoyable if you're not travelling alone. The wall-to-wall mirrors, the clean bedsheets replaced daily and the fully tiled bathroom would be a lot more fun shared with someone else, but alas I was unable to convince the rather good looking deputy night manager that this was the case.
posted 19:20 :
Tube strike: It only takes two hours to get back from Leeds to London by train - I was well impressed. However, it then takes roughly as long to get from Kings Cross home to East London, thanks to the tube strike they kindly put on to celebrate my return. I've stood in bus queues for buses that either didn't arrive or were full and didn't stop. I've stood like a sardine in a variety of jam-packed stations and train carriages. I've walked overground across London carrying incredibly heavy luggage. I've travelled miles out of my way just to get on board a train that still exists. I suspect I've just lost all the weight I put on while having those two stodgy hotel breakfasts. But it is so good to be home.
posted 18:55 :
Monday, September 23, 2002Leeds: So, having gone on and on and on about how wonderful London is, my job now packs me off to Leeds for a couple of days. I'm sure Leeds is very nice, but I remain to be 100% convinced. I have been there once before, for five hours, and was there long enough to spot that the shopping centre had a Harvey Nicks. This may not be a good sign. However, I'm sure I'll survive Leeds, and it'll be lovely. To be honest, it's having to spend 60 hours away from the internet that I find more frightening...
posted 07:31 :
Birmingham: Did the earth move for you? A quake measuring 4.8 on the Richter Scale hit Birmingham at about seven minutes to one this morning. Absolutely feeble on a global scale of course, but we Brits have to make do with what we can get. It was felt as far away as London, apparently, but I didn't notice anything. I was awake, which clearly helps, and I was lying in bed, which is supposed to be a good place from which to spot an earthquake. However, even though I'd love to have finally felt a quake, I wasn't in Birmingham, for which I remain grateful.
posted 06:27 :
Sunday, September 22, 200222 September - the Countryside comes to London
It's exactly a year today since I packed up all my belongings and moved from a small village in Suffolk to the East End of London. To celebrate this anniversary, the Countryside Alliance kindly arranged for quarter of a million country folk to come up to London just to remind me exactly what I'm missing. Nothing.
The streets of London were filled with red-faced protesters, converging on Whitehall via Hyde Park and the Embankment, demanding Liberty and Livelihood. Most were wearing that dull shade of green that only people who live in the country ever dare to wear in public, usually a Barbour jacket or something disturbingly tweedy. They wore flat caps, sensible brogues and sideburns - it was as if last week's London Fashion Week had never happened. They dutifully waved their placards, some lovingly laminated from a poster in the Daily Mail, others insulting the Prime Minister, but most just admitting that they enjoyed murdering animals for fun.
Some marchers looked so rich, in an in-bred landed-gentry sort-of-a-way, that it was obvious they were only there for the Liberty of shooting a few foxes rather than the Livelihood of a few genuine farmers. Many had dragged their children along and given them a whistle to blow and a political statement to make. I thought there were far too many marchers from Essex, which in my opinion is barely the countryside at all. However, I suspect many of the more bemused-looking country folk had never been to London before in their lives. I fully expected to see some of them in Pret attempting to barter a prize sheep in exchange for a sandwich.
The march went on, and on, and on, in much the same way that the countryside does. At the Cenotaph the protestors marched past in silence, which might have been powerfully impressive were it not for the racket being created by the helicopter hovering overhead. Then after Big Ben everyone dispersed, either to the clubs of Pall Mall, which appeared to be doing brisk business, or back to the Landrovers and home to rural Hampstead.
I know that the moaning marchers have all missed the most obvious way to improve their lives - sell up and move to a town. I found my Liberty and Livelihood by escaping the countryside and moving to London, and I have no intention of ever going back. More buses pass my front door in an hour now than used to serve my old village in a week. If I want a pint of milk today I can buy some in a shop one minute's walk away rather than have to get in the car and drive for miles. If I want a life I have one on my doorstep, rather than just the possibility of village hall bingo every third Thursday. So, I'll happily leave the countryside in the capable hands of the Barbour brigade. The rest of us will carry on living.
posted 17:25 :
Saturday, September 21, 200240 things I love about... London
Life, nightlife, the sense of history, the Underground, the view from Greenwich Park, the fact there's always somewhere new to discover, Oxford Street, the sound of Big Ben, nightbuses, sunlight on the Thames, buying your Sunday paper on Saturday evening, the museums in South Kensington, the wobbly Millennium bridge, being able to choose from more than two local radio stations, Tate Modern, not needing a car, the view from Hampstead Heath, Arsenal shirts, Trafalgar Square, the top pod on the London Eye, St Pancras station, decent mobile phone reception, Routemasters, the East End, 24 hour bagel shops, culture on your doorstep, Hungerford Bridge, Old Compton Street, deckchairs in Green Park, the DLR, 0° longitude, the City, Covent Garden, decent record shops, St Paul's Cathedral, walking faster than the traffic, crossing Westminster Bridge at night on the back of a bike, the sheer variety of Theatreland, the British Museum, just living here.
posted 21:24 :
London Open House weekend: What a fantastic idea, to open up some of London's buildings to the public free for the weekend. I resisted the temptation to queue up for Broadcasting House, or the Victorian Sewage Works down the road, and instead headed up to Westminster. The queueing crowds were mostly either over 50 or gay, or both. And I got to see 5 places that I'd always wanted to see:
Westminster Hall: Now that the Queen Mother has moved on, there were hardly any queues. I stood on the spot where her artificial hip had lain in state, just out of respect you understand.
Portcullis House: The new office block for MPs, famous for its fig trees imported at a cost of £150,000. If you're a UK taxpayer, you'll be glad to know none of them look as if they need replacing yet.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Magnificent and opulent courtyards and staircases. I suspect we bled the Empire dry to pay for it all.
Cabinet Office: Had to queue for one and a half hours, but well worth it just to see the door that Sir Humphrey couldn't get through when his key was confiscated in Yes Prime Minister. It has a card swipe now, by the way.
Midland Hotel, St Pancras: Glorious old hotel, now fallen into serious disrepair. I suspect it never recovered after the Spice Girls recorded the video for Wannabe there. Zig-a-zig-ah.
posted 19:43 :
Friday, September 20, 20023 things I hate about... pedestrians who get in my way
1) Mobile phone users: They are the new living dead. They walk the streets like zombies. They are totally absorbed in the text message they're typing into their mobile phone. They always walk right in front of me without looking. Not enough of them walk straight out into the road in front of cars.
2) Tourists: Us people who live in London are usually trying to get somewhere. Tourists, on the other hand, are happy to stay exactly where they are. Being ignorant of the ways of the capital, tourists will happily stop dead in the middle of a narrow pavement, just outside a station entrance or directly in front of a minor photo opportunity. Two tourists, if positioned carefully, can completely block a London pavement in seconds, causing pedestrian gridlock. Large groups of French schoolchildren, if left unattended, can suddenly seal off half of Central London. Mayor Ken would do well to consider the huge economic savings to be made by deploying tourists on strategic pedestrian crossings around the capital as a cheaper alternative to congestion charge technology.
3) People with bags: On Fridays, people take to the escalators of London with suitcases. They're obviously planning on rushing off somewhere after work for the weekend, maybe to Amsterdam, maybe to the second home in Wales, or maybe they just like carrying suitcases, I don't know. But these people are out there on Friday mornings stopping me from climbing the escalator and getting my daily exercise. Then of course there are all those people with rucksacks who are prone to turn round and smash their fat bag into you, ignorant of the carnage happening right behind them. And please don't even get me started on pushchairs.
posted 21:19 :
Thursday, September 19, 20023 things I hate about... Travelcards
1) Buying them: My annual London Travelcard expires in three hours time. I went to my local tube station last week to try to renew it. "Oh no", they said, "you can't do that yet. Come back nearer the time." I returned at 10pm on Sunday evening when, after much protest, the staff finally agreed they were perhaps willing take £912 off me if I really insisted. It was clear that the man behind the counter had never used a computer before, as he attempted to work out what all the buttons were for and where on earth the letter 'E' was. Next year maybe I should buy my ticket at 8:00 on a Monday morning instead, just to see how long I can get the queue of irate passengers behind me.
2) Other people buying them: Don't you hate in when you're stuck waiting in the queue at the ticket office on a Monday morning, with some urgent travelling to do, and some idiot in front of you has decided to buy their annual travelcard by debit card, and the monkey behind the counter can't get the computer to work?
3) Other people selling them: It's become one of the most modern but most undesirable forms of begging in London. Shuffling grubby reprobates gather round the exits to tube stations during the early evening, asking if they can relieve you of your used Travelcard. Not mine mate, it cost me £912. There again, maybe tonight I should have flogged it. I have three hours left to find a buyer...
posted 21:00 :
Wednesday, September 18, 20023 things I hate about... being stuck in a tube carriage between Green Park and Piccadilly Circus for 20 minutes on the way home from work
1) Being late: I don't normally stay late at the office until 7pm. So, when I do stay late, the last thing I want is "a safety alert at Caledonian Road" to delay me even longer. One minute into my tube journey tonight we ground to a halt in the middle of a Piccadilly Line tunnel. It was very helpful of our tube driver to keep us updated by telling us that we weren't moving, although we had noticed this for ourselves. Then he told us the blockage ahead had been cleared and that we should be moving soon, except we didn't. He ought instead to have told us there was a really impatient American moaning at his wife on the third seat down on the left, because there was.
2) The Evening Standard: Normally it takes me most of the tube journey home to read the Evening Standard. It's not a great newspaper, bearing far too much of a resemblance to the Daily Mail for my liking. Tonight, however, I had time to read the paper twice. Second time around I was left having to read the article bashing Ken's congestion charge, the editorial supporting the green welly Countryside Alliance. the daily cosmetic surgery scare story and even the recipe for anchovy bruscheta. Please please let me not be so delayed going home tomorrow.
3) You don't care: I've told you the story of my dreadful journey home, and you don't care. Nobody ever cares about nightmare travel stories. That's unless one happens to you of course, in which case you feel as if you have to tell everyone at your destination every single intimate detail. I bet you've just skimmed through my tale of underground woe, but please remember, next time you're late I won't be at all interested either.
posted 22:09 :
Tuesday, September 17, 20023 things I hate about... the Mercury Music awards
1) Mercury: The most credible UK annual music awards are sponsored by the least credible UK telecommunications company. That'll be Mercury, the phone company that shone brightly for a brief period, then faded away into cashless obscurity. A very appropriate sponsor for the awards that brought you Gomez and, er, Talvin Singh?
2) Music: Apparently we're defining Joanna McGregor, The Bees, Guy Barker and The Coral as amongst 'the best in British Music'. These artists were virtually unknown before the shortlist was announced, and only a cynic would suggest that this event is merely a blunt marketing exercise to raise flagging record sales. However, I think the presence of the latest David Bowie album on the list speaks for itself.
3) Awards: The judges delight every year in not picking an obvious winner. Last year they passed over Radiohead, Basement Jaxx and Super Furry Animals in favour of P J Harvey. In 2000 they completely failed to spot the potential of a group called Coldplay. This year they gave the award to Ms Dynamite when clearly The Streets should have walked it. Next year expect either the Tweenies or a Popstars wannabe to destroy the competition.
posted 23:58 :
Monday, September 16, 20023 things I hate about... Autumn
1) Darkness: I woke up this morning and it was dark. When did that happen? I'm sure it was light last Friday. It wasn't really dark, but it won't be long before it's pitch black when I leave for work, and then dark when I get home, and eventually I won't see my flat in daylight again until March. Still, that should save on the hoovering for a few months.
2) Chill: I woke up this morning and it was cold. When did that happen? I'm sure it was warm last Friday. It wasn't really cold, but I almost had to look for my jacket, which I took off some time back in April and haven't used since. I wonder where in my flat I put it. Before long I'll be wearing my jacket every time I go out, and eventually wearing it every time I stay in as well, just to avoid spending any money turning on my central heating.
3) Leaves: I woke up this morning and three leaves on the trees outside my window were slightly yellow. When did that happen? I'm sure they were green last Friday. They weren't really yellow, but before long all the trees will be a sort of russety-orange, then brown, then all the leaves will fall off and clog up the courtyard outside. All of a sudden I'll be able to see out past the trees again, getting a full view of the railway and the buildings beyond. Which also means everyone out there will be able to see in again, so I'd better start being careful what I'm wearing, or not wearing...
posted 21:49 :
Sunday, September 15, 20023 things I hate about... supermarkets
1) Trolleys: Supermarkets never have the type of trolley you want, although there are always plenty of trolleys available for disabled mothers with twins. All available trolleys are now chained together outside the store, partly to stop 13 year-olds appropriating one for a joy ride, but more importantly just to really annoy you when you realise you've not got a pound coin in your pocket.
2) Packaging: Supermarkets insist on wrapping everything in packaging we don't want, and then charging extra for it. Why? Because we're mug enough to pay for it, that's why. We could buy real potatoes, complete with organic dirt and real skin, but instead it's so much easier to buy ready cooked mashed potatoes with a sprig of parsley in a cellophane wrapper for ten times the price. It may cut down on preparation time, but it's odd how it never tastes quite as good.
3) Checkouts: I always manage to pick the checkout with what appears to be the shortest queue, but which then turns out to be the longest. The person in front of me in the queue always seems to have managed to buy the only packet of cereal in the shop without a barcode, a pint of milk that's leaking everywhere and a vegetable that the rookie till operator can't decide whether it's an aubergine or a very large plum. Then they produce every money-off voucher under the sun from their wallet, only to be told that most of them are unusable, before insisting on paying by credit card even though the bill is less than £5. Of course, when it's my turn at the checkout, the operator speeds up and whizzes everything down the belt before I've managed to get even one plastic bag open, at which point everyone waiting in the queue glares at me, just as I was doing earlier.
posted 12:00 :
Saturday, September 14, 2002Saturdays - what is the point?
At last it's Saturday, and the one day of the week actually worth waiting for is finally here. Unfortunately, as it turns out, it may not have been worth waiting for at all.
Want to go shopping? Not today, because everyone else has had the same idea and the shops are absolutely packed.
Want to go out somewhere for the day? Not today, because the fantastic weather we had yesterday has suddenly disappeared overnight.
Want to watch some football? Not today, because Rupert Murdoch prefers Premiership matches to be played in Monday prime time instead.
Want to watch some quality TV? Not today, but you can watch Bruce Forsyth, Matthew Kelly, Geri Halliwell, Chris Tarrant and Denis Norden instead.
Want to go out tonight? You do? OK, so maybe Saturdays are worth waiting for after all...
posted 17:23 :
Friday, September 13, 2002Fridays - what is the point?
We look forward to Fridays because the weekend is nearly here. We can go out tonight and live it up and stay up late and get wildly drunk and it doesn't matter because we don't have to get up for work tomorrow. Or at least that's the plan.
However, it never quite works out like that. The working week has totally knackered us out, so we get home in the evening and slump in a chair in front of the television. We can't be bothered to move so we fall asleep halfway through EastEnders and then wake up again just after 10pm, sigh deeply and crawl into bed.
Not that I'd ever stay in on a Friday evening you understand. Just don't check below to see when I posted this, please...
posted 22:07 :
TotP 2000: The number 2000 has recently been associated with many crass and embarrassing projects that promised much and delivered little - the Millennium Dome, the Millennium Bridge and the Y2K bug spring to mind, amongst others. Now we can add the 2000th edition of Top of the Pops to that list.
• Whose idea was it to invite Status Quo to open the show? Are they not dead yet? Was the producer maybe trying to get everyone to turn off?
• Who invited Darius to appear on film to congratulate everyone, given that he'd not even appeared on the show before number 1995?
• Does the the lead singer of N-Trance really think she can sing? I've rarely heard a more convincing argument for the reintroduction of miming.
• Who paired Tom Jones up with Wyclef? Even Robbie Williams and Geri Halliwell make a more convincing couple.
• Was that Legs and Co dancing in luminous orange diving suits, or has Michael Barrymore slipped something in my tea?
• If the White Stripes are described as 'cutting edge', does that explain why I considered the use of razor blades halfway through their 'song'?
• Who is that appalling new female presenter? She makes even Peter Powell's presentational skills look impressive.
• Why did the edited highlights of the last 2000 shows concentrate far too much on the last four years and not enough on the thirty before that?
• Is everyone editing their songs down to two minutes in length in case the modern teenage audience gets bored and swaps channels?
• Which 80s classic will Atomic Kitten massacre next? Maybe a Blondie fan will massacre Atomic Kitten first.
• And will anybody remember even one of these groups when the 3000th TotP comes round in 2022?
posted 20:12 :
Thursday, September 12, 2002Thursdays - what is the point?
If it's Thursday, it must be nearly the weekend, except it isn't. Freedom is tantalisingly close, but still just too far away.
Thursdays used to be Top of the Pops night, which at least made the weekend feel a little closer. We'd all rush home to see which bands would be on, and what colour Toyah's hair would be, and would John Peel and Kid Jensen be doing their sarcastic presenter act this week, and which record would Legs and Co have choreographed really badly, and would there be some spotty teenager we recognised from school in the audience, and which record would be the cue for Dad say "they just don't make music like they used to any more"? And then the BBC moved the show to Fridays and it all went wrong. Or did I just get old?
It's the 2000th edition of Top of the Pops tomorrow night. I'm afraid I can still remember the 1000th show far too clearly. Spandau Ballet were number 1 with 'True', the Human League sang 'Keep Feeling Fascination', Heaven 17 sang 'Temptation', the Thompson Twins opened the show with 'We Are Detective', and also on the show were The Beat, Funboy Three and Blancmange. That's an outstanding line-up - they just don't make music like that any more. Ok, so maybe I am too old...
posted 08:01 :
Wednesday, September 11, 2002Wednesdays - what is the point?
With two working days before it and two working days after it, there's no escape from a Wednesday in either direction. A Wednesday always feels as if it goes on forever, and the working week goes on forever.
Today, however, doesn't feel much like a normal Wednesday, so I'll stop there...
posted 22:48 :
9/11 is a terrible date. It's the anniversary of an appalling terrorist act, that's for sure, but it's also a terrible date. Until last year, today always used to be called 11/9, while 9/11 was quite definitely positioned somewhere in early November. It's just another example of the creeping Americanisation of world culture, and it must be stopped. Today is most definitely 11/9/02, and not the mis-ordered gibberish that this American software tries to pretend it is.
posted 07:09 :
Tuesday, September 10, 2002Tuesdays - what is the point?
First thing every morning, at the top of the steps outside the tube station on my way to work, some grinning idiot tries to thrust a free magazine in my hand. Every Tuesday, that magazine is called 'Midweek'. Why? Do they not realise they're at least 28 hours early? The last thing I want to be told on a Tuesday morning is that it's halfway through the week, because it so disappointingly isn't. Still, it's better than the similar situation every Monday morning, when the same grinning idiot always tries to offer me a copy of 'Ms London' instead.
Tuesdays of course used to be the most important day of the week. Back in the 70s and 80s, Tuesday was the day that the new Top 40 was announced. There we all were, standing outside the sixth form common room at school, straining to hear through the window exactly who was at number 1 that week. Back in those days this really was news, it was important, and it was unexpected, mainly because nobody was leaking midweek chart positions to the tabloids. It's just not been the same since they started announcing the weekly chart-topper on a Sunday evening. I mean, Number 1 records were so much better back then weren't they? None of this Atomic Kitten and Pop Idol rubbish. No, instead there was Showaddywaddy, the St Winifred's School Choir, Shakin' Stevens and the Goombay Dance Band. Hmm, maybe not much better then...
posted 23:10 :
Monday, September 09, 2002Mondays - what is the point?
Mondays always start far too early, usually 5 days too early.
For most of us, Mondays are depressing because it's back to work for yet another week. For the unemployed, Mondays are depressing because it's not back to work for another week. And, for the retired, Mondays are depressing because another onslaught of Countdown and Watercolour Challenge starts here.
The shock of waking up before 7am on a Monday morning should not be underestimated. It is for this reason that the Government protects the nation's health by giving us six Bank Holiday Mondays off a year... but sadly not this one, and very sadly not any of the next thirty either. Bugger.
posted 06:56 :
Sunday, September 08, 2002Sundays - what is the point?
It's a Sunday, and nothing's open except car boot sales, churches and DIY warehouses. Supermarkets are only allowed to open for 6 hours, so they're all full of families spending quality time together and clogging up the aisles with screaming toddlers. All the roads are full of once-a-week grannies driving painfully slowly to church, or once-a-year bikers who've forgotten how to ride since the last time the sun was shining. And if you stay indoors instead then there's only Thora Hird, an ancient film and some pointless sporting event on the TV.
I suspect Sundays were invented only to make Mondays appear marginally more appealing.
...or read more in my monthly archives
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