Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, February 27, 2004

Celebrity lookalikes at Splitting Images. Ant or Dec aren't much cop though. And I wonder if Gary Glitter or Michael Jackson get many bookings these days.
Laptop vs. Desktop...
So you think you want a laptop? Below are a few thoughts I have about the pros and cons of laptop ownership compared to desktop ownership:

Portability - this is the main reason: you can work on the road, at meetings or at home
Personal choice - desirable objects; some kudos; you can choose were you sit and it gives you a sense of freedom

Lower power - the processors are designed to run slower so they don’t drain the batteries
Slower hard disks - they are built smaller and to stand knocks
More expensive to buy - the mobile components are more expensive
Heavy to carry - all but the very lightest are heavy (3kg+)
Physically less reliable - the knocks that laptops get can cause breakdowns
Smaller screens - typically 15" rather than 18" diagonal for desktops
Smaller keyboards - often with less keys too
Easier to be stolen / lost - they are desirable by criminals
Security risk - secrecy of business & personal data can't be guaranteed
Virus risk - if laptops are brought into the office after being connected to another unprotected PC or network off-site
Higher maintenance costs - due to the use of non-standard components
Higher support costs - remote support while on the road costs more
Fewer options - normally only a few peripherals are available
Propriety design - each manufacturer has it's own design; unlike desktops
Limited upgradeability - very few components can be upgraded (if any)

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Ann Winterton gets the boot (again)...
For a politician to get sacked once is unfortunate. But twice is just plain idiocy. And for the same vile thing too - telling racist jokes.

So what were these two jokes? And are they racist? Well, the first one is for sure. The second I think is just bad taste. Worse still - neither is remotely funny.

In 2002 Ms Winterton, 63, told this dreadful joke at a rugby club after dinner speech:
"An Englishman, a Cuban, a Japanese man and a Pakistani were all on a train. The Cuban threw a fine Havana cigar out the window. When he was asked why he replied: 'They are 10 a penny in my country'. The Japanese man then threw a Nikon camera out of the carriage, adding: 'These are 10 a penny in my country'. The Englishman then picked up the Pakistani and threw him out of the train window. When all the other travelers asked him to account for his actions, he said: 'They are 10 a penny in my country'."

And then last night she told this equally offensive joke at a Whitehall dinner:
"Two sharks swimming in the Atlantic. One shark turned to the other to say he was fed up chasing tuna and the other said, 'Why don't we go to Morecambe Bay and get some Chinese?' "

The woman is plainly an abhorrent being and should be banished from the Kingdom. Her name is an anagram of: WENT IN ON RANT
Pop Quiz: The Answers...
01. Elton John
02. The Thompson Twins
03. Ella Fitzgerald
04. Yes
05. David Bowie
06. Max Bygraves
07. Fox(x) (Fox On The Run / Fox / John Foxx)
08. The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
09. Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground & Nico
10. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
11. Alphaville
12. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
13. Me Me Me
14. Jimmy The Hoover
15. C, B, A, D
16. New York, London, Paris, Munich everybody talk about pop music
17. Drinks (Glass Of Champagne / Special Brew / Milkshake)
18. Ottawan & The Village People
19. Kool And The Gang & Stevie Wonder
20. 1982

And it the true spirit of these things... please mark you own papers.

The four and a half points we dropped on Tuesday were: we didn't recognise any of the first three artists (we had no clues other than their strangled vocal renditions) so just made wild guesses - all wrong; we couldn't remember Me Me Me; and put 'Strange' rather than 'Crazy' for Mr Brown's outfit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Gay, Gay, Gay...
Well, what a gay day it is in the Guardian today: Bush backs gay wedding ban, Howard plans gay summit as Tories eye the pink vote and Italians play gay to avoid army service.
Pop Quiz...
After a very long break we were back at The Retro Bar Retroteasers Pop Quiz last night. Darren, Stuart and I were the only people who could make it in our team and we thought we might be a bit rusty: for a start we all self confessed as ignoramuses as to what is in the current charts. But, hey, we were there for fun.

Surprise, surprise it turned out we came second (inasmuch as you can actually know if you come second). One point behind the winners on sixteen and a half. Now if only we hadn't given away one of the answers to the team that eventually won...

I shall try and recreate some of the quiz here if you want to give it a try:

01. Which flamboyant showman covered The Beatles's Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds?
02. Which 80's trio covered The Beatles's Revolution?
03. More famous for jazz but which EF covered The Beatles's Can't Buy Me Love?
04. They were prog rock's finest - but who covered The Beatles's Every Little Thing?
05. He'd sung about space before but who then did a dreadful cover of The Beatles's Across The Universe?
06. Which cheesy crooner told us a story by covering The Beatles's Hard Day's Night?
07. Spot the connection: Sweet / S-S-S-Single Bed / Underpass
08. Claudia Brucken covered: "I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour" : can you name the original artist and song?
09. Claudia Brucken covered: "Here she comes, you better watch your step" : can you name the original artist and song?
10. Claudia Brucken covered: "One pill makes you larger, And one pill makes you small, And the ones that mother gives you Don't do anything at all" : can you name the original artist and song?
11. Which one hit wonder sang Big In Japan?
12. Which one hit wonder sang Fire!?
13. Which one hit wonder sang Hanging Around?
14. Which one hit wonder sang Tantalise?
15. Put these James Bond songs in the order (highest to lowest) that they charted in the UK Charts: (a ) Goldfinger, (b) Live And Let Die, (c) A View To A Kill and (d) Thunderball.
16. M's Pop Music: how does the chorus go? (Clue: 10 words that start with "New York...")
17. Spot the connection: Sailor / Bad Manners / Kelis
18. The Mini-Pops disco covers: "She is D delirious, She is I incredible" & "Young man, there's no need to feel down" : name the two artists
19. The Mini-Pops disco covers: "So bring your good times, and your laughter too We're gonna celebrate your party with you" & "You know it doesn't make much sense
There ought to be a law against Anyone who takes offense At a day in your celebration" : name the two artists
20. Name the year: The Boom Boom Room - Natasha / I Eat Cannibals - Toto Coela / Mirror Man - The Human League

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Animals on the Underground...
Guy sent me this link of Animals on the Underground last week. Sweet.
This will drive you mad...
Can you escape from The Crimson Room? It took me and Roger about 30 minutes. It takes a few minutes to open the page as it's in Flash.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Pure and simple. A fart gag to make you smile on a Monday morning.
Gaydar Radio Launch Party at Heaven...
We had freebies to go - but didn't - to the Gaydar Radio (Annual?) (Re)Launch Party at Heaven last week. We'd gone to the first one a few years ago - where I got very drunk and tried pathetically to chat up one of the guys who runs Gaydar (Mark was standing next to me the whole time saying, "What exactly do you think you're doing?" Oopps!)

Anyway, as I say, we didn't go to this latest bash. And good job too. The only reason to have gone would have been to see Alison Goldfrapp do a DJ set. And judging by a letter Disco Damaged got it didn't go down too well.

"...the Dance part of the evening got off to a good start with the sexy GaryH, he played a cool funky set that kept the dancefloor busy, a little too slow for me but the punters liked it. This was followed by the worst set I have ever witnessed in any club anywhere, Alison Goldfrapp played whatever she liked and F**k the floor, which is what she did, she threw disks onto the decks without a hint of mixing or continuity or any attention to sound levels, the only thing that can be said in her defence was that her pregnant mate seemed to be doing the decks while she stood by snarling at anybody that went near the DJ box. She managed to clear a full dancefloor and fill the bars, This was 'rescued' by RichB who managed to drag everybody back from the bars to a pumped up full on set full of great floor fillers, just what was needed !! At the end of the night there was a stream of people at the DJ box door congratulating Rich on his set and the fact he managed to pull it off. Why a DJ like RichB isn't on a major dancefloor in Vauxhall is beyond me."

Friday, February 20, 2004

Guy Facts...
Everything you ever wanted to know about penises and erections: Brown Town Guy Facts.
[Thanks to Roger, who else?!]
So you want to change the way you look?...
Why not go to a gym. John Stone did. And set about changing his body. Check out the animations.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

When School Kids Make Flash Movies...
So this teacher says to his class of young kids in their IT lesson on Flash, "I want you to make a Flash music video as your homework. Nothing elaborate. Keep it simple." Well, Mr. Moyers of Notre Dame Catholic High School in Fairfield Connecticut USA, as this movie shows I think you have a little star in your class there.
Townies vs. Skaters...
In my nephew's school in Hitchin, Hertfordshire you're either a townie or a skater. Woe betide you if you aren't one or the other. Or, worse still, wear the wrong shoes for your gang. You get punched. No question. Not exactly Jets and Sharks or Mods and Rockers but you see where they're going with this. It's tribalism.

Skaters are perhaps easier to define: that baggy clothing, skate-boarding, Avril Levine kind of a look. Slightly rockier pop music but all basically chart based like Busted.

But Townies are, for me, a more interesting phenomenon. Coincidentally earlier this week Guy sent me a link to a townie hating web site. (a townie is more widely known as chava or scally in some circles).

townie, charver, chava, charva n. 'What a Townie'; 'He's a right little Charva'. Used to describe group of youths usually described as 'kappa slappers' else where. Townies typically wear things like Kappa tracksuits and Berghaus jackets, smoke Lambert and Butler cigarettes amongst other things, have hooped gold earrings, spit constantly and wear at least one gold sovereign ring (a gold band attached to the bottom of a gold sovereign coin) on each hand. Most people seem to grow out of 'charvadom' by their early twenties, although may still carry a few of the habits through to later life and will by then probably drive a souped-up XR2I, with blacked-out rear windows and a 5000 watt stereo system. Another trait common to the charva is a loud, slightly sarcastic, nasal laugh and slow 'can't really be bothered to talk' speech. Typical slang words that Charvas use are 'belta', 'mint' and 'waxa' all meaning good or great, with the prefix of 'pure' or 'total' this would mean really good. The word charva has been in common use in the North East since the mid-nineties. The term townie gets used down South.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Brits 2004 Winners...
Below is a list of the winners (and the also-rans) for the 2004 Brit Awards last night. It was fun to watch it on TV albeit a little predictable outcomewise. Were there any real surprises?

I have one other question too. What exactly is a 'breakthrough artist'? Is that what used to be called a 'new-comer'?

(As a footnote, apparently model Naomi Campbell - who was supposed to present the British rock prize - didn't show because she was late for the three-hour ceremony, which began at 17:20. Silly cow.)

For each category the winners are in bold:

British Male Solo Artist
Badly Drawn Boy Twisted Nerve/XL/Beggars
Daniel Bedingfield Polydor/Universal
David Bowie Columbia/Sony
Dizzee Rascal XL/Beggars Group
Will Young S/BMG

British Female Solo Artist
Sophie Ellis-Bextor Polydor/Universal Music
Dido Cheeky/BMG
Jamelia Parlophone/EMI
Annie Lennox RCA/BMG
Amy Winehouse Island/Universal Music

MasterCard British Album
Daniel Bedingfield: Gotta Get Thru This Polydor/Universal Music
Blur: Think Tank Parlophone/EMI Music
Coral: Magic and Medicine Deltasonic/Sony
Darkness: Permission to Land Must Destroy/Warner Music
Dido: Life For Rent Cheeky/BMG

British Group
Busted Universal/Universal Music
Coral Deltasonic/Sony
Darkness Must Destroy/Warner Music
Radiohead Parlophone/EMI
Sugababes Island/Universal Music

British Single
Dido: White Flag Cheeky/BMG
Gareth Gates feat. the Kumars: Spirit in the Sky S/BMG
Jamelia: Superstar Parlophone/EMI
Mis-Teeq: Scandalous Telstar/Telstar
Rachel Stevens: Sweet Dreams My LA Ex Polydor/Universal

British Rock Act
Darkness Must Destroy/Warner Music
Feeder Echo/Chrysalis Group
Muse Taste Media Ltd/East West/Warner Music
Primal Scream Columbia/Sony Music
Stereophonics V2/V2 Music

British Urban Act
Lemar Sony Music/Sony Music
Big Brovaz Epic/Sony Music
Mis-Teeq Telstar/Telstar
Dizzee Rascal XL Recordings/Beggars Group
Amy Winehouse Island/Universal Music

British Dance Act
Basement Jaxx XL/Beggars Group
Goldfrapp Mute/EMI Music
Groove Armada Pepper/Zomba
Kosheen Arista/BMG
Lemon Jelly Impotent Fury/Beggars Group

British Breakthrough Artist
Busted Universal/Universal Music
Jamie Cullum UCJ/Universal Music
Darkness Must Destroy/Warner Music
Lemar Sony Music/Sony Music
Dizzee Rascal XL Recordings/Beggars Group

Pop Act
Christina Aguilera RCA/BMG
Daniel Bedingfield Polydor/Universal
Black Eyed Peas A&M/Universal Music
Busted Universal/Universal Music
Justin Timberlake Jive/Zomba

International Male Solo Artist
Beck Geffen/Universal Music
50 Cent Interscope/Universal Music
Sean Paul Atlantic/VP/Warner Music
Damien Rice 14th Floor/Warner Music
Justin Timberlake Jive/Zomba

International Female Solo Artist
Christina Aguilera RCA/BMG
Beyonce Columbia/Sony Music
Missy Elliott Elektra/Warner Music
Alicia Keys J/RCA/BMG
Kylie Minogue Parlophone/EMI Music

International Album
Christina Aguilera: Stripped RCA/BMG
Beyonce: Dangerously in Love Columbia/Sony Music
OutKast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below Arista/BMG
Justin Timberlake: Justified Jive/Zomba
White Stripes: Elephant XL Recordings/Beggars Group

International Group
Black Eyed Peas A&M/Universal Music
Kings of Leon Hand Me Down/BMG
OutKast Arista/BMG
Strokes Rough Trade/Sanctuary
White Stripes XL Recordings/Beggars Group

International Breakthrough Artist
50 Cent Interscope/Universal Music
Evanescence Epic/Sony Music
Kings of Leon Hand Me Down/BMG
Sean Paul Atlantic/VP/Warner Music
Thrills Virgin/EMI Music

Outstanding Contribution To Music
Duran Duran

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Sad news...
My grandmother died this morning. She was ninety-six. She'd had a good innings but it's odd, no matter how much you're prepared for such things, it always comes as a shock.

Auntie Kath was actually my step-grandmother. My mother's mother died not long after I was born quite suddenly and so I barely knew her. Auntie Kath married my grandfather fairly soon after for the family's sake as much as anything else. It can't have been easy taking on such a large family but she did it, to my eyes at least, with seeming ease.

Auntie Kath was a Yorkshire lass and introduced me to such culinary delights as putting Stilton cheese on fried Christmas Pudding and serving roast dinners with eighteen different vegetables. She was a keen golfer, a good cook and liked a drop of sherry. She had all the time in the world for her step-grandchildren - all twenty-one of us. She even managed the amazing feat of keeping track of all the great-grandchildren too. Not easy with such a fertile brood.

Best of all when we played cards with her at Christmas she'd let us win - we knew, of course, but didn't want to let on. I think she knew we knew too. But that just made it all the more perfect. Both playing the roles to make the other happy.

I shall remember her very fondly.
My Funny Valentine...

Monday, February 16, 2004

The Diana Tapes...
Last year the Sunday Mirror published the article below. It now appears the tapes will be shown on TV in the US as a two-part special on 4th and 11th March.

Diana: Her fears of 'unhealthy' relationship with aide...

Princess Diana made a sensational secret video diary in which she complained that Charles had an "unhealthy relationship" with top aide Michael Fawcett. Diana, looking tearful and drawn, complains on camera: "He is too close to Fawcett - what can one do when your husband is in an unhealthy relationship" with a servant? She also tells how Charles and his close aide appeared "uncomfortable" and "uneasy" after being disturbed while together in one of the Prince's private rooms.

The existence of the videos, in which Diana sat alone with the camera, emerged recently. For nearly four years they remained in the loft of her former butler Paul Burrell, who never watched them. Police discovered the tapes after raiding Mr Burrell's home two years ago while gathering evidence for the botched trial in which Diana's "rock" was acquitted of all charges. A highly-placed source who is aware of the videos, said: "The contents of the videos are beginning to leak out and they are dynamite." And a friend of Paul Burrell's said: "For five years they were safe with Paul. He never viewed them. He is appalled their contents are now coming out."

On one tape, the late Princess is seen sitting in a chair in her Kensington Palace rooms wearing a pink cardigan. As the camera focuses in she says: "Well here I am again...alone." She then launches into a bitter tirade against Prince Charles and his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles. Looking straight into the camera she says: "I feel completely isolated. Charles confides more in Fawcett than he does with me. The whole situation is completely impossible." The Princess is also scathing about other members of the Royal Family, including the Queen and Prince Philip. She said the Queen regards her as "not the right material to be Queen - dim". The Duke of Edinburgh, she says. was "just unbelievable" in the way he was always, "putting me down...I think he really has dementia".

The video diaries are separate from the so-called audio "rape tape" which Diana made of allegations by former valet George Smith that he had been raped by a member of Prince Charles' household. On one video tape Diana talks about Smith and says how sorry she feels for his predicament. She says that she understood that at first he was having consensual sex with a member of the royal household but that things got out of hand. Diana says that the royal household member went too far and raped him. "It must have been awful for him," she adds. In another segment Diana looks pale and drawn and breaks into tears as she talks of her feelings of loneliness and isolation.
"I feel trapped," she says on more than one occasion. "The Royal Family is trapped in the Dark Ages. Highgrove is so stifling I can't bear to be there." Movingly, she talks about her children, Princes William and Harry, and her fears for their future. She accuses Charles of trying to "take them over", but talks of her determination to decide how they are brought up. She says: "I want them to meet ordinary people. I want them in the real world." Of her own childhood, she adds: "I was brought up as an ordinary girl and that's the way I want my children to be. I don't want them brought up in this stifling atmosphere." She also speaks about the royal staff. She says: "Even they look down their noses at me. It's just awful. I am sure Fawcett's behind it. He has far too much influence."

The revelations of Diana's concern over Charles's association with Fawcett come after he was forced to resign as the Prince's top aide. Despite being criticised in a report by Charles's private secretary Sir Michael Peat, he was given a reported £500,000 pay-off, assistance to buy his £450,000 grace-and-favour home and a £100,000 freelance contract to work for the Prince. Most of the video tapes were said to have been destroyed after the Princess's death in 1997. According to Scotland Yard sources they were burned in the gardens at Highgrove on the Prince of Wales's instructions. Michael Fawcett is said to have organised their destruction as Prince Charles looked on. But some of the tapes were held by former royal butler Mr Burrell and seized by police in a raid on his home two years ago.

An agreement was struck with the Crown Prosecution Service that the tapes would not form part of the Old Bailey trial against Burrell because of their sensitive nature. A senior source said: "Throughout the tapes Diana looks stressed and under tremendous pressure. You can't help feeling sorry for her, she seems to be going through a nightmare. "But these tapes are absolute dynamite, they are hugely embarrassing to the Prince and very humiliating for the whole Royal Family."

Diana was taught how to operate a video camera by a BBC technician friend in the 1990s. Scotland Yard sources have confirmed the existence of the tapes. "Certain property, including tapes, will be subject to a civil action to determine their ownership," a spokesman said.
The Spencer family are understood to want ownership of the tapes. A Palace source said that in the wrong hands the damage the tapes could cause would be "irreparable".

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Anything Goes...
[This post was suspended from yesterday as the initial comments reflect]

Tonight the wonderful Andy is taking us (i.e. a huge group of his friends) to the theatre: 'tis Andy's Annual Theatre Night. Last year he took us to see Our House - The Madness Musical and the year before that to see Fame - The (Crappy) Musical. Tonight it's Anything Goes - The... er... Musical. It promises to be positively spiffying with "a whole ship full of tap-dancing sailors and high-kicking chorus girls". Not to mention Cole Porter's I Get a Kick Out of You, You're the Top, It's De-Lovely, Blow, Gabriel, Blow and, of course, Anything Goes. It's the Trevor Nunn production that transferred from the National Theatre. Should be a corker. Really looking forward to it.

UPDATE: It's now the next morning. And it was a corking show. We laughed and laughed. Positively spliffing.

Friday, February 13, 2004

I take that back...
Ian and Marcus (and maybe others too): this post has been temporarily removed so as not to spoil the surprise tonight. So if you've read it already, at least act surprised!
Porn on the go...
I'm not sure whether to be excited or insulted. I've been sent some anonymous porn by MMS (multi media service) on my mobile. Nothing too offensive really - just a fuzzy picture of an erect dick (not one I recognise, I'll have you know). So come on, fess up, was it perhaps one of you, dear readers? I shall be keeping a beady eye open from now on in case I match the picture to real thing at some stage; maybe even ask around at the theatre tonight. Perhaps a identity parade of the usual suspects might be in order too.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

iPod battery life
Apple are being sued over iPod battery life. But it's not just the iPod though, is it? It happens to all devices that rely on built-in rechargeable batteries: they wear out (a vague memory from the back of my mind shouts the word 'hysteresis' at me). I suppose the only thing with Apple is, did they say the batteries would last longer than they actually do?

My first XDA had a built-in rechargeable battery and after 18 months you could tell it wasn't keeping the device juiced up as long as it used to. To swap out the battery for a new one would have required a return to base refit. Costing me God knows what. Luckily my new XDA2 has a user change rechargeable battery so you can simply swap in a new one in when it starts to lose it's capacity to hold it's charge. Must better idea.

Sony don't make any claims on battery life, as far as I'm aware, concerning my baby Network Walkman. That has a built-in rechargeable battery too. It just seems to go on and on. But I'm not fooling myself. As sure as eggs are eggs, it'll die like every other gadget. Rechargeable built-in batteries are a bummer.

"Gadgets using built-in batteries: devices where the obsolescence comes as standard".

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Crazy day at work...
Microsoft admits 'critical' flaw. Thanks, Microsoft. You've fucked up my day.
Life As A Guy...
I love this little movie. Bitter as hell; funny all the same. Ah, L'Amour.
This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it? It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it! In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out! Try to do so without any coaching.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Four nights of heavy drinking take their toll...
Went to see Scissor Sisters on Thursday. Sang like a loon. Got dreadfully drunk.
Went to Paris (again) on Friday. Stayed in a church. Got horribly drunk.
Went to Duckie on Saturday. Danced like a loon. Got terribly drunk.
Went to dinner on Sunday. Chatted like a loon. Got disgustingly drunk.
Stayed in last night. Watched TV. Didn't touch a drop.
I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!...
So Kerry McFadden is the winner of IACGMOOH! 2004. I secretly wanted Jennie Bond to win - she ate the most horrible insects alive. But who can forget Peter Andre's fantastic Insania? Well lest you should forget why not keep it as a ringtone.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Friday, February 06, 2004

Scissor Sisters at the Scala...
The perfect moment that captures last night was Marky (yes, Marky, hard to impress Marky, who normally stands at the back of gigs and pours scorn on my fickle enthusiasm each time I gush about 'the best live act I've ever seen') dancing and singing at the top of his voice along to the Scissor Sisters's Better Luck Next Time with a huge smile across his face.

Last night Simon, Paul, Emma, special-guest-I'm-not allowed-to-mention, Marky and I met up in Sahara Nights (the old Bell) for pre-gig cocktails quite early. Rumour had it the support act for the Scissor Sisters would be worth listening to. Good thing we did because Syntax were really quite good in a Depeche Mode kind of way. Like us, the crowd was pretty appreciative. Why, we even swayed a bit.

But later when the Scissor Sisters burst on the stage for their hour long set the crowd went completely mental. As the Scissor Sisters thundered through their songs with such a high level of energy it was exhausting just to watch. Not that we just watched mind you. We sang, we danced, we rolled, grooved and rocked. You just can't stand still when so much power is being dissipated on stage. Even our special-guest-I'm-not allowed-to-mention was moved to sway a bit.

A few new songs blended seamlessly into a set list which otherwise stuck fairly firmly to last Saturday night's running order. Musically the high point of the evening was a tie between Comfortably Numb and the encore Music Is The Victim.

As the gig drew to a close the six of us were all willing there to be more. But the lights came up. It was over. Suddenly we were all talking at the same time saying what a great show it was.

Why even Marky gushed, "That was the best live act I have ever seen". Praise indeed.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Ham Or Spam...
A researcher has discovered how to make spam unstoppable. Apparently by including just one of the following words it will get past a spam filter: 'Berkshire', 'Marriott', 'wireless', 'touch' and 'comment'. Seems unlikely I know. But in the spirit of such things here is my contribution to spammers everywhere - the magic phrase that will guarantee your wretched spam gets through those pesky filters.

"Heard the comment about the Marriott Hotel in Berkshire on the wireless? Get in touch."
Pete meets the family...
Last night we meet up with Pete (pictured) in the Hen and Chickens for drinks. Mark had not met him before and was beginning to wonder who I'd been banging on about these last few weeks.

Michael joined us too which was great because I'd not seen him since New Year and he's just back from the Canaries. Paul arrived a little bit later on as he seems to be working all the hours God sends these days.

Once assembled our little band of happy campers headed off for food. And where else but... the wonderful Nicaraguan La Piragua. Upper Street has a lot to offer by way of fine eateries but La Piragua is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of friendly service, quality of food, character and value for money. £20 a head and that included wine (Sauvignon Plonk, naturally).

After dinner Pete and I went on to the EDVI (as it now likes to call itself) and then Bar Fusion. There we sat on the sofas, got a bit more tipsy and had giggly girly chats, gossipy fish-wifery and swapped of Kath and Kim one-liners.

As Pete put it in a text later: "Oh Sharon, you ate my last fat free fruche! I had a great night. And I sayed so!" I couldn't have agreed more.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!...
Things are bubbling along very nicely in the jungle on IACGMOOH. Mike Read is out. Diane Modahl is out. Peter Andre is babbling like a mad man: "I hate feet. What good are feet?" Er... for walking, Peter? Jenny Bond is favourite to be next out. John Lydon is favourite to win.

Talking of which, the best bit of last night's show was John Lydon's reaction to surving the eviction vote.

On live TV is shouts: "FUCKING CUNTS!" Priceless!

For a split second Ant or Dec were going to laugh and then suddenly it was all, "We are very sorry for that. It's a live show. We are incredibly sorry."

It was almost as good a moment as seeing Janet Jackson's boob on live TV (see below).

UPDATE THURSDAY: It seems it was Razor who has been edged out - and John Lydon has walked off the set. Currently in a hotel.
Janet wants to join the Cheeky Girls...
Janet let's it all hang out

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Damien Rice...
O - good.
You can quote me on that...
My two favourite Kath and Kim series two quotes are both in the same episode

Kim: "It's hard being a 'wife'... so many decisions to make... corporate... house... fish..." "OK, Sharon, I've decided, I'm going to be trophy..."

Brett "It's not cardonnay, Kim, it's chardonnay. Chardonnay"
Kim: "Oh alright, chardonnay! CHARDONNAY!! You pack of chunts!"

And talking on TV the other week was Rick Wakeman talking about a gig he did when he was in The Strawbs: "I only had one little piano solo but this old boy got up on stage. I didn't know who he was so I pushed him off. The police arrested me. Well, I didn't didn't know he was Salvador Dali!"

Monday, February 02, 2004

Afternoon Delight...
It was Luca and Stuart's 1st anniversary drinks yesterday. Coupled to this was the fact that the lovely Pete was over from Oz made going to Chill Out at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (a.k.a. RVT) an engagement I didn't want to miss. Marky was staying in to watch the match (back on top, eh, boys?!) and Paul was working so I was going alone. Fuelled by rumours (that proved to be true) at The Dame Edna Experience (a.k.a D.E.) was starting her show an hour earlier at 5pm I got my shit together a little earlier than usual and headed off down Vauxhall way with a full heart and Scissor Sisters on the MP3 player. I bumped into Luca and Stuart en route and I must say they do make a very attractive couple - congratulations boys.

D.E. did one of those shows that make you think 'she's too good for this place' - with memories of Wakefield and Chicken TV being particular highlights of his/her stand-up. Needless to say the singing was beyond compare as per. It put us all in the great mood. Except those who were stuck out in the pouring rain, of course. The RVT had ran out of green wrist bands so they wouldn't let them in for ages. The place wasn't even full. Bastards!

It was great to catch up with Pete, of course; that man is so lovely. And made all the more so as he introduced me to three other equally lovely people. First there was Ryan (Hi Ryan!) who claims to be a regular reader - so where's that comment Ryan, huh? Oh, did I mention he's as cute as a button? And then there was Claudia, a co-worker of Ryan, who is really sweet, a complete dynamo on the dance floor and one of the most attractive lesbians I'm met in years. To complete the Holy Trinity Pete introduced me to the gorgeous Josh - young, good-looking, got the smarts and friendly... what's not to like?! The great hunk of spunk.

Super sexy David and smoldering Ian were of course in attendance along with a gaggle of other chums - some of which I'm not seen for some time. Shuttling back and forth between various groups of friends passed the time in a most agreeable way. So agreeable in fact that I fear I may have actually taken my T-shirt off and danced like a loon at some point or other. Now if only Davie. Russ and Rich had been there too...

Sky rockets in flight, afternoon delight.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

A Cut Above The Rest...
Last night Matthew was throwing a birthday party in the only way he knows how. Fantastically. All the special and gorgeous were there and we had a great time. A few drinks, some nice chats, great nibbles and the odd flirt. What more could one want from a Saturday night out? What indeed. But even I know that when the Thompson Twins and Culture Club CDs start coming out it's time to start furtively looking at your watch.

I had planned to go to Duckie but within the space of 20 minutes was stood up by the four people I was going with - David (no not that David, nor that David but another one), Jason (no not that Jason, nor that one either but another one), Pete (Oz friend of Davie's) and Marky. They were respectively too drunk, had a better offer (Mr Hoist), too tired and it was too cold / wet outside. Ho hum.

Before long David (yes that David this time) and Ian persuaded me to go with them to The Cock Live instead which was at Crash. And I'm really pleased the did. Eventually.

We queued for an hour before getting in. I hate that - when clubs open later than they advertise and you're left in the cold. But while in the queue we were joined by Marco (David's er.. squeeze?) and Fabrizio though so things were looking up. As luck would have it just after we got in Pete texted me to say was I in Duckie? Fuck! So I dashed out (thankfully David suggested getting a pass-out) and met Pete fully expecting we were back on for Duckie instead. I was wrong. Pete was just saying hello as he was off to Action with some friends. We said our goodbyes. But thank God for that pass-out! I jumped the huge queue and was back in The Cock Live before they'd missed me.

It was only when we were in we got 100% confirmation of something that we had heard on the grapevine. My new favourite band, Scissor Sisters, were doing a secret gig. With a 'special guest'. David had texted me earlier with a quote from www.popjustice.com who had talked about 'what might easily be the greatest onstage collaboration of all time.' Bet's were on for either Neil Tennant, Marc Almond, Andy Bell, Pete Burns or Billy Ray Martin joining Scissor Sisters on stage.

There were two other live acts on first though: X-Lovers (tried a little too hard in that Transvision Vamp/Blondie style) and Ping Pong Bitches (good electro beats but a rather sub-Steve Strange stage presence). We then waited another hour for technical problems to be resolved and finally Scissor Sisters burst on stage. Raptuous applause. They did a 30 minute pumped up set (Laura (Simone), Take Your Mama Out, Skins, Comfortably Numb, amongst others) and stormed it. Full of energy and full of stories about doing Top Of The Tops the night before - God, they hate Westlife!

And when they finally came back for an encore we saw who their special guest really was. Why it was none other than Dead Or Alive's Pete Burns in all his fabulousness. He sang along to what was their final number Tits On the Radio. Fab. Fab. Fab. A perfect finale to what was a cut above a normal Saturday night out.

Can't wait to see them again at The Scala on Thursday.