Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Care For A Dickie Biscuit?

No Life On Mars lat night! No Life On Mars! Instead the Beeb slung on some boring football match! How dare they!

I have never liked football. I find the whole ethos of the game overblown, pompous and ineffably down-at-heel (ho ho). But I guess it gives those poor kids at school who are only good at woodwork and smoking behind the bike sheds some sort of career opportunity when they leave. God I’m such a snob.

My distaste actually has its source in a childhood where Saturdays were forever locked into a good morning / bad afternoon dichotomy. Basically Saturday mornings were a joyous occasion for me and my sisters: Tiswas and Swap Shop kept us happily occupied for hours and took us right up to lunchtime. And then at 12.30 the televisual circus closed up its big top and was replaced with the dreaded World Of Sport.

Oh how I hated Dickie Davies and his weird badger striped quiff. And I can remember Dickie before his hair even developed that white streak. Ah the horror of advancing old age!

Anyway, my dad would just lock the TV solidly onto World Of Sport for the entire afternoon. Football, rugby, swimming, golf, more football, boxing, wrestling, more football, tobogganing, skiing, motor cross and even more football. And then we’d have to suffer that interminable half hour of the football results being read out at the very end by a bloke who sounded like he had a red hot poker shoved up his backside.

"Wimbledon nil. Queens Park Rangers one. Plymouth Argyll 3. Accrington Stanley 2. West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur late result."

On and on forever. And even after World Of Sport had finished there was worse to come. The Grumbleweeds. Russ Abbot’s Madhouse. And then the spawn of Beelzebub: 3-2-1 with Ted bleedin’ Rogers. Aaaargh! God TV was crap in the late seventies and early eighties.

Anyway the whole point of this blog is to ask the salient question: what the hell happened to Dickie Davies? It’s a question that’s been preying on my mind for oooh at least 2 minutes.

The last Dickie Davies media reference that I can recall was by Half Man Half Biscuit in the mid eighties with their glorious musical paean to the sporting maestro - Dickie Davies Eyes (she’s got).

Is he dead? Is he chained up in a madhouse somewhere (with or without Russ Abbot)? Or is he lurking in the wings waiting for the first opportunity to eff up all my Saturday afternoons once more?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Is My Theme Tune…

For some reason I try really hard to like Charlotte Church.

There’s something fresh faced, unaffected and honest about her. A youthful sense of fun and fair play that I like and a refreshingly healthy attitude to her body image. Who cares if she occasionally puts on a few extra pounds? She always looks gorgeous and fab to be with.

And before I kick off into the meat of this post I must also point out that I love Wales. Both Karen and I do. We’ve been going to the place regularly for years – as often as we can – and even chose to get married there in a beautiful little mining village called Abergynolwyn. We’ve always found the Welsh people to be warm, wonderful and endlessly helpful. We are seriously considering moving there one day. Wales is great. The BIG country indeed.

But for the life of me I cannot abide The Charlotte Church Show.

I gave up watching the first series after the first episode. It was appalling. Tacky, amateurish, coarse in an unattractively pedestrian way and appealing to all the lowest possible denominators. Not a good vehicle for Charlotte’s talents or for Wales.

I therefore approached the first episode of series 2 (broadcast on Friday) with some apprehension. I’d heard tales that Charlotte had learnt from the mistakes of her previous outing and this series would be a big jump up the professional scale of quality. Fair enough, I thought. She’s only 21, bless her, she’s allowed to make mistakes and find her way.

So I tuned in. And, despite the dynamic Billie Piper being one of her guests, I had to turn the damn thing off within the first 15 minutes.

Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte! What are you doing?

It was embarrassing and uncomfortable viewing.

The trouble is, although Charlotte’s youth and ebullience are part of her charm, these qualities betray her when it comes to the role of interviewer. She’s too gauche and inexperienced to perform an adept interview.

A good interviewer must have some worldly wisdom, some knowledge of the human condition which they are able to utilize and manipulate in order to tune into their guests and bring out their very best. As it is Charlotte’s guests always seem to be far more mature in their outlook and bearing than she is and the effect is to make Charlotte look inane and blank. She doesn’t seem to connect with them on any intelligent level at all. Which is a shame because Charlotte is not stupid.

Her writers however are and should be shot. The jokes are awful. That dreadful "theme song " ditty is diabolical and should be scrapped. It makes me cringe to think of it. It isn’t funny and it has the effect of making Charlotte look as if she can’t sing for toffee. Well done, guys. You’re not only misrepresenting Charlotte’s talents you’re also destroying them!

The humour of the show is coarse and explicit but it’s handled lazily. This is a mistake. Using coarse humour well is a great skill yet people constantly make the mistake of thinking that it is the easiest way to get a laugh. It isn’t. The Friday Night Project employs coarse humour superbly. So does Graham Norton and shows like Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Little Britain. But handled badly it just comes across as prepubescent and tasteless.

Charlotte doesn’t have the skill to deliver coarse humour well. It just makes her look oafish and a bit of a ladette. Fine if all you want to appeal to is the beer and lager consuming members of the public who are too drunk to have any discerning qualities one way or another. Not so good if you’re trying to sell a modern vision of Wales to as broad a spectrum of the British viewing public as possible.

I’m not Welsh. But I can’t help feeling that The Charlotte Church Show is an insult to Wales, the Welsh people and to Charlotte herself.

Like I said. Shoot the writers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Page 9

God bless The Courier.

After snatching a copy hot of the press this morning (and then running back into the shop and paying the snarling shop assistant for it) I eagerly leafed through its hallowed pages to the quivering postbag section... and found utterly no sign of my letter at all.

Cue 10 minutes of swearing until I realized that they’d actually written a feature on the whole night club debacle on page 9 and there, smack (pun intended) bang in the midst of other offended letters was mine. Emblazoned if you will upon the very centre and nexus of the article.

My ego was pumped to bursting point.

Or at least it was until I realised how SAD I was being.

I mean, it’s ONLY the Courier. It’s not like it’s The Sun or anything. Get a grip!

Anyway, for those of you who wish to read the letter but missed its posting here last week, just follow this link: Smack letter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hot Fuzz

As it was Karen’s 40th yesterday I treated her to a day of gifts and choice entertainments which comprised of a massive stack of DVDs, a whopping tower of fab books, a breathtaking example of local jewellery craftsmanship, a hefty slap-up meal at The Saxon Mill and – the icing on the cake – a first class paradigm of this country’s top movie produce in the shape of Simon Pegg’s Hot Fuzz.

Fans of Spaced will love Hot Fuzz. It was certainly good to see “Marsha” (Julia Deakin) on the big screen though this time playing a propurrrr Somerset barmaid. Nick Frost was on form as the bumbling, Point Break obsessed Danny Butterman and the rest of the cast were all superb: Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Edward Woodward to name but a few. All top UK actors who all apparently queued up to appear in the film. And it’s easy to see why – the sheer enjoyment on each of their faces can be read from the first scene. Somehow I don’t think filming Hot Fuzz was at all a chore. Why can’t I get a job like that?

Anyway, I won’t spoil the plot too much. Basically Simon Pegg plays Nicholas Angel (or Nicolarse as his moustachioed CID colleagues call him), a top, high flying London super cop who just can’t switch off from the job. Nick Frost plays PC Butterman a low lying, cake scoffing, beer quaffing Somerset cop who doesn’t know how to switch his police radio on but can operate a DVD player whilst blind drunk. Pair the two of them together in a town where the gristly murder rate rises in line with the gags and you have a fantastically entertaining movie.

And look out for Shameless actor, David Threlfall (Frank Gallagher), who makes a hilarious appearance playing an annoyingly poncy Shakespearian actor who receives one hell of an eloquent performance review...

Heck. I’m gushing but this is the film to see if you want to combat the February blues. I’m already pre-ordering it on Amazon; it’s that good.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Jumped The Gun

It seems I was a mite premature in my peevishness towards the Leamington Courier. I had an email this morning from their contribution’s editor thanking me for my letter about the Smack nightclub and advising me to see this Friday’s edition… a sure sign that my letter is primed for publication.

Another teeny-weeny serving of fame beckons.

Who knows I may end up as a guest on Loose Women after all…

Or should I be setting my sights a lot higher?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sprint For The Weekend And The Smack Letter

Friday, as we all know, is the best day of the week. The whole day is imbibed with a sense of uplifting optimism that can lift even the direst spirit. I realize this pro-plus quality has everything to do with the approaching weekend and the glorious potential that accompanies it. Even if that potential is never realized it doesn’t matter – the weekend is great because it’s “our” time. Time to do our own thing, spend time with our families, time to follow our own pursuits without the boss or the taxman clocking your every tea break and loo stop. Time to do absolutely eff all if that’s what you feel like.

This Friday is especially good for me because (a) I’m taking Karen out for a meal at a fab new Thai restaurant in Leamo tomorrow night to celebrate both Valentine’s day (belatedly) and her birthday (prematurely) and (b) I’ve booked Monday and Tuesday off as holiday so I get a whoppingly huge 4 day weekend followed by a short week at work. Top!

With it being Karen’s birthday on the Tuesday we’re planning a day out somewhere together – possibly shopping in Birmingham, possibly a day mooching around Moreton-in-the-Marsh – wherever we end up it’ll all be good and I’m sure another nice meal will feature as part of the day’s entertainments. I can’t wait. Hedonism – it’s my favourite hobby.

On another matter I was very disappointed to find that a letter I’d written to the local Courier newspaper wasn’t printed in this week’s edition. I feel personally insulted. How dare they decline a missive from yours truly! I spent at least 10 minutes composing the damn thing!

Anyway, just because I’m able and not because you’re at all interested I shall paste a copy of the letter below so that it is saved for all posterity. The background story is this: a local night club has decided to change its name from Sugar (dubious in itself) to Smack and has even set up a web site called to publicise itself. I feel that given Leamington’s history of heroin addiction amongst some of its residents such marketing techniques are deeply offensive, stupid and crass...

For information: Andi Conway-Horbury was the local resident who originally complained about the new name of the club to the Courier.

"Re: Sugar night club renamed Smack

I share Andi Conway-Horbury’s disgust regarding the recent renaming of the Sugar night club. Aside from sounding cheap and nasty, the new name is plainly a cynical manoeuvre on the part of the club owners to cash in on the drug scene. Given the crass name of their web site – – they evidently think heroin abuse is not only cool and fashionable but also an ideal sales pitch with which to encourage young customers through their door. This is surely deeply insulting to their potential clientele – as well as incredibly insulting to all individuals and families who have had their lives ruined by heroin addiction.

I’m sure the club owners will want to impose responsible house-rules on drug use and possession within the confines of their club, particularly with reference to all banned and illegal substances – I mean Heaven forbid that the club is constantly raided by the police and earns itself a bad reputation which jeopardizes its license – but I fail to see how cashing in on the heroin scene in such a tactless manner will in any way aid them in their efforts to keep their premises drug free.

Given the nature of most night club entertainments maybe a more suitable, less contentious, drug related name could have been chosen? Alka Seltzer or Imodium perhaps?"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Life On Mars

It’s back.

The best drama on the Beeb in years, Life On Mars, returned last night for its second and final series. Karen and I have spent the last few weeks waiting with baited breath (sad I know). Would it match the standards of excellence set by the first series? Would it exceed them? Or would it stutter, stumble and fall?

We needn’t have worried.

Gene Hunt was straight in there shoving nosey journo’s out of the way like they were cheap bags of spuds, his camel hair coat as unmoving as his adherence to good old fashioned 1970’s chauvinism. Sam Tyler – superbly played by John Simm – carries the bizarre premise of the whole show with such unflinching conviction that his continued presence in 1973 - despite frequent phone calls from 2007 - seems perfectly acceptable and totally normal.

The show doesn’t so much as persuade you to suspend your disbelief as entirely convince you to believe in the outlandish. And you find yourself doing it with nothing but sheer unadulterated pleasure.

John Simm (Sam Tyler) and Philip Glenister (Gene Hunt) are one of the best acting combos ever. It’ll be a sad day indeed when the series finishes after this last final run but I can fully respect the decision to draw the show to a close while it’s so far ahead.

Is Sam mad? Is he in a coma? Is he imagining it all? Anyone who can imagine the gravely moralled Gene Hunt, the velvet voiced WPC Annie Cartright and 1970’s Manchester down to every last Wagon Wheel and Alvin Stardust album has got to be on the wrong side of sanity somewhere along the line... but the ride Sam Tyler is taking us on is such good fun who really cares?

Like I said: best drama on the Beeb in bloody years.

Housey Housey

Things are finally moving with regards the house sale! We had a letter from our solicitor yesterday to say they’d like us to make an appointment to go in and sign all the necessary documents. After months of delays it’s nice that things are finally moving.

In a lot of ways Karen and I have been very lucky – not only are we being given the opportunity to buy the house we’ve been renting for the last 2 years (which means no moving to do whatsoever – always a bonus) but we’re getting it at a remarkably reduced price. House prices in Leamington – especially for 3 bedroom – are extremely prohibitive for most buyers so to say we’ve been given a golden opportunity is no overstatement.

After some of the hardships of the last 12 months – losing the baby, money worries, illnesses and injuries – it’s damn nice to be having a spot of good fortune for once.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How Novel

At last!

I have taken the bull by the horns. I have grasped the nettle. I have struck while the iron was hot.

I have begun my novel.

Cue global sharp-intake-of-breath (followed by much coughing and expectoration of blood).

Yes, it might only be a tentative and measly 1000 words but the mighty project is at last begun. Amid much fear and trepidation (in Las Vegas and everywhere else) I threw myself into the first page sometime around dusk yesterday afternoon. Reports that Ian McKellen and Kate Winslet are already vying for the lead roles in the film adaptation are as yet unconfirmed.

On a serious note I finally decided to take the advice of my wife and just pitch in any old how: get it written and don’t worry about whether it’s any good or not until it’s finished. My mate Tris has also confirmed that this is by far the best approach: get the first draft written without attempting to rewrite any of it and then once the core of the novel is complete you’ll be in a better position to go back and tidy things up / change things.

Karen, Tris - I salute you both.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Where’s The Story?

Heaven forbid that I ever throw my support behind a smug Tory toff but I’m astonished at the ridiculous fuss the UK press is currently making over David Cameron’s “drugs past”.

Where the hell is the story? Where’s the newsworthiness?

The guy took a toke on a spliff when he was a teenager... and he ISN’T denying it.

Big deal.

Now if he was denying it to all and sundry and flying in the face of hard facts then there’d be a story worth a column inch or two.

But "David Cameron Refuses To Deny He Was A Bit Naughty As A Lad" can hardly float any scandal monger’s boat. Even on a quiet news week.

Personally I think the story has been leaked to the press deliberately by Cameron’s supporters to try and gain the elusive youth vote. "Hey David took skunk when he was at Eton – he’s a geezer like us, in’ee?"


I bet his schooling at Eton is far more damaging to his quest to achieve super street cred than all the bongs he may or may not have smoked put together...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Virgin Uma Downloads My Bits

To my everlasting shame and chagrin (given their totally pisspoor service) I have to admit to being an NTL customer. It is a cross I’ve borne with many a complaint over the last 7 years. I’ve stuck with them through thick and thin (or rather thin and thin) simply because I’ve heard loads of equally horrific customer-service related stories about every other ISP in the country so what was the point of changing? Better the devil, etc.

I’ve grinned and borne it. Even grunned and beared it. For 7 long years.

But help is now at hand. Virgin has bought out / merged with NTL to create a brand spanking new service called Virgin Media. They’re promising great things. They’re eradicating the name NTL in a vain attempt to eradicate the shame. They’re promising better customer service. They’re promising first class delivery of life’s essentials - better telephones, better TV, better broadband.

But most of all they’re promising Uma Thurman.

Their advertising campaign is currently hitting TV screens nationwide. It’s classy. It’s sexy. It’s Uma with a capital Ummmmmm!

Yes, Richard Branson has got Uma Thurman – coolest woman in Hollywood – to endorse his new media-tastic venture. The man’s undoubtedly a tosser but at times like these it’s just about possible to bathe in his massive toss fall-out and consider it worth while just to get your share of the glory that is Uma. Hell, you can have a bath later, can’t you? Or a cold shower if needs be?

Anyway, forget all the improved service crap and the money for old rope; the adverts plainly state that I can download Uma Thurman as many times as I want.

In fact Uma says so herself with that smoulderingly lethal look that finished off David Carradine in Kill Bill.

Now this is a service I will gladly pay for.

As I type I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my brand new modem. It’s gonna have to be a big ‘un cos Uma’s a big girl. I’m not sure yet where I’m going to put her but my God am I going to have fun squeezing her in…

I’m polishing my sword as I speak. No word of a lie.

Richard Branson… occasionally, you’re a gent.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Snow Poo

This is rather a distasteful observation to be making but it’s impinged on my consciousness too much over the last 36 hours to be allowed to pass by without comment.

Now I know there will always be some dog owners who refuse to do the decent thing and scoop up their mutt’s poop from the pavement. Either through laziness, squeamishness, lack of preparation or just plain misanthropy they will decide to leave Fido’s faecal sculpture steaming obesely in full view of the world and fully in the way of every boot sole, brogue and flip-flop that happens to pass down that particular pavement for the next couple of days.

Revolting. But happily in today’s modern age of the acme pooper-scooper and the doggy-do flip-top dustbin anti-social incidents of this kind are becoming fewer and more far between.

Why is it then that whenever there’s snow on the ground incidents of dog-poo abandonment increase tenfold?

I’ve lost count of the number of dog droppings that I’ve literally had to skate past on my way to work this morning. They are absolutely effing everywhere.

Do dog owners suddenly get hit with an absurd desire to leave warm chocolate logs on the roadside in the vain belief that such seasonal decorations will cheer up the rest of us as we go about our business in the freezing conditions?

Or do they just like to prettify the snow further by giving it a slightly piebald appearance – dotting their little poo mounds all over the place like spilt Maltesers?

Or are they motivated by sheer scientific curiosity – an overwhelming yearning to see how long the snow takes to melt when a hot doggy botty lays a burning coil down upon it, creating a little brown island amongst that huge ocean of whiteness?

Or, as I really suspect, do they just think that the little snow faeries will magically clean away their poisonous turds when the snow eventually disappears in a few days time without them having to lift a finger to do anything about it themselves?

It’s disgusting, repulsive and disgraceful.

I’m looking at every snowman and snowball with extreme mistrust...

Here’s mud in your eye? I don’t think so.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


One pitiable fall of snow and everything grinds to a halt.

I don't know what it's like where you are this morning but here we've had no more than an inch of the white stuff fall upon our streets. And yet every school in town has decided to close. Some even announced last night - before a single snow flake had even descended – that they were going to close for the day today. How pathetic.

Scores of bus services are not running. Local radio is full of sage advice for people to "not venture out" or drive anywhere unless it’s "an absolute emergency".

How incredibly wet.

It’s not like we’ve never seen snow in this country before is it? Oh God! What is all this strange, cold white stuff? I can’t possibly go into work today in such cataclysmic conditions! I might get chilblains!

Back in 1981 I can remember having to trudge a mile to school through snow drifts that were a good 7 inches deep. Every single person in the country went to work as normal and just got on with things.

Now we have a light powdering of frozen water on the car roof and everybody takes the day off.

Except me. And my hard cheese has nothing at all do with the fact that my wife and boy are at home right now hitting the PlayStation with gusto while I sit and scrooge behind my desk at work trying to defrost my feet over a two-bar heater.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Madame McKeith

How can such a tiny, decrepit, bag of bones be so humongously scary?

Ok I’m being unfair here; I know that health food dictator, Gillian McKeith, has bounced back to health from a very serious illness to embrace the nuts-and vitamins perfect-poo lifestyle that she so brutally advocates on her TV programme, You Are What You Eat, but for all that she bullies her fat clients with demonic Caledonian energy I can’t help thinking that there is something extremely unhealthy about Gillian’s general pallor and demeanour. Is she really any healthier than the morbidly obese size-0-wannabes that she regularly tortures with her celery and spinach smoothies? She certainly doesn’t look it.

But what really disturbs me about The McKeith is the contemptuous, harsh attitude with which she treats all her "patients". She’s a bully. She’s absolutely vile to people whose self-respect and self-image is already at an all time low. Her dietary techniques seem to centre around unpalatable food combos, daily poo inspections and ritual public humiliation. I am not exaggerating.

Gillian never seems to be satisfied unless each week she has made her clients, both male and female, cry with guilt, heave with disgust at their own bodily produce and gag with horror at their regular weekly food intake.

I realize that this is the traditional shock tactic approach. Gillian is basing her whole modus operandi on old school army training techniques: totally demolish the soldier’s current belief system and then rebuild him/her anew with a whole brand new ethos. And certainly it seems to work.

But does the end ever justify the means?

She made one poor woman climb into a bath of cold processed food sludge in order to illustrate the kind of crap she was subjecting the inside of her body to. Dubious in itself but Gillian made the sobbing woman do it in the front garden of her London home – with curious passersby peering over the wrought iron fence – thus publicising the poor woman’s distress. That is just not on. For all Gillian is undoubtedly motivated by worthy ambitions – a real fire to save people from themselves – she nevertheless doesn’t give a fig (syrup of) for their emotional well-being or their feelings. Gillian seems to have a very machine-like approach to people. I’d go as far to say she’s a nutritional mechanic rather than a healthy lifestyle guru. As long as people are physically fixed what does it matter if Gillian has messed their minds up in the process?

Of course, these people subject themselves to Gillian’s regime willingly so maybe that’s all the justification that Gillian needs? These people are in extremis and I’m sure in some cases it literally is do or die. Such endeavours always make compelling but uncomfortable viewing.

As I watched last night’s show though it struck me that Gillian is much like a high class dominatrix. An endless stream of clients readily shuffle into her home each week to submit themselves to her elegant E. Coli cruelty and her clipped colonic punishments – every one of them doe-eyed and desperate for one word of praise from Gillian’s perennially curled lips as she forces them to produce "the perfect poo" and imbibe tofu and nettle-root miso soup in quantities that wouldn’t fill a gnat’s belly.

Oh Gillian, I’ve been a naughty boy – punish me with the stotty cake iron maiden face mask again!

You are what you eat? Eat the underside of my boots, worm!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Just Get On With It, Man!

I can’t believe how much vacillation I have entered into with regards my novel. I still haven’t begun writing the damn thing. Admittedly over-working and a dose of the seasonal flu bug that’s been going around has horse-whipped any kind of enthusiasm for extra curricula activity clean out of me... but even so, this is hesitancy on a historically humungous scale.

My current dilemma is: third person or not third person? First person has an immediacy that I like – plus all that juicy introspection – but another part of me favours third person to gain that delicious sense of omniscience... even though part of me feels it’s a trifle trad.

This debate of course is just a cover for the dark mire of nail-biting fear that is really lying at the heart of my current delay...

It’s time to put a metaphorical gun to my own head. Do it... or the bunny gets it!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bug Lust

I’ve just spent the morning checking the pest traps in the Museum where I work... or going on a "bug hunt" as I call it.

It’s one of those odd little components of my job that normal visitors to the Museum wouldn’t even think about as they scuff their Nike’s over the newly mopped floor in search of distraction and edification among the ranks of teeming display cases that make this proud edifice of education exactly what it is. A Museum.

Basically I have to "do the rounds" once a month to make sure that the Museum stores are not being infested with woodworm, death-watch beetle or some such other many-legged nasty creepy-crawly with a penchant for munching on works of art or artefacts of historic importance.

It is not one of my favourite jobs.

1) I don’t particularly like insects at the best of times and the thought of having to get up and close and personal with them after they’ve been left mouldering for a month in the dark corners of the Museum stores just turns my stomach. To quote a line from The Mummy, they get rather "juicy".

2) The traps themselves are coated with a sticky goo impregnated with insect pheromones. It drives the little fellas wild. So much so they fly or crawl straight into the traps without a single thought for their own mortality – just a blind need to get their chitinous ends away – and there they become stuck fast and basically starve to death. Not quite the end they were looking to get, I’m sure you’ll agree. And unfortunately it’s nigh on impossible to examine these pest traps without getting some of this love goo on your fingers.

Despite copious hand washing I will now spend the rest of the day – particularly while I’m eating my sandwiches for lunch – with the discomforting suspicion that my fingers are now vertitable love-beacons for every randy insect within a 20 yard radius.

Love, as they say, is in the air...


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I have the singular honour of being the web engineer who has but recently built the html glory that is Photovertex on behalf of my good friend, Mr Paul Washer, photographer and social wit extraordinaire.

Ladies and gentlemen, fanfares please.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmm...

A quick trip to the bank this afternoon as well as enabling me to enjoy the dubious benefits of warm winter sunlight also brought me into close contact with a much uglier side of life...

There I am minding my own business when ahead of me I spy a young buck bodily manoeuvring his girlfriend against the wall of a shop fa├žade and pushing his face very insistently into hers. Now he didn’t throw or push her violently into the wall, he didn’t nut her in the face, he didn’t even raise his voice – the violence was all under the surface and possibly only within my own perceptions but I recognize negative body language when I see it.

For her part it was plain she wasn’t happy. She was craning her head away from his and telling him – albeit very familiarly – no. Plainly a lover’s spat and not really any need to get involved.

So why did I feel guilty for walking on past them? The girl and I briefly made eye contact but I got no sense of her asking for help. In fact all I picked up from her was her embarrassment at the way her twot of a boyfriend was acting in public. Hence I decided not to stop.

But as I walked away I couldn’t help thinking what a bad thing she’s on to with Mr Pushy. He might not be a woman beater (yet) but his behaviour is surely the thin end of the wedge. If I started physically manoeuvring Karen around I think we’d both recognise that things were in a terribly bad way and that one if not both of us were in need of professional help.

She needs to bail out now. Before things turn really ugly. I just hope she sensed that in the pained look I gave her as our eye contact broke...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It’s Getting Hot In Here

It’s interesting to watch the theme of global warming slowly but surely gathering pace and momentum on all the major news channels on TV at the moment – at least on the UK ones anyway – helped I’m sure by the idiotically mild winter that we’re "enjoying" at the moment.

Scientists are both amazed and concerned that all over the country daffodils and hosts of other spring flowers are already appearing months and months ahead of schedule. Bees have also been spotted in various places - looking very confused and sluggish (mind you if you were a bee and you looked like a slug you’d be justified in your confusion). None of this is good.

One good frost could either wipe out the lot or severely stunt future growth.

Such advance flowerings and early insectoid awakenings have other more fundamentally worrying knock-on effect too: they upset the whole balance of the ecosystem which runs itself based on the timings of a million different variables. If those variables are now messed up then the whole system is liable to crash. In today’s computer age it’s an analogy that I’m sure we can all identify with.

The question is no longer: "does global warming exist?" but "what are we going to do about it now that it’s here?"

It’s about time that the politicians of the world realized that we no longer have the time or the leisure to debate the issue. We have to act now. The pendulum is already swinging...

For those of you that are interested, I’ve written more on this topic on my web site at