Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, September 30, 2005

Week 26 Inside The Big Mother House...

Sarah-Jane is getting enormous. There are just eight weeks to go and the triplets are getting ready for their last spurt of growth; kicking and jostling for position it can't be easy to carry all that weight around morning, noon and night. But not a born complainer, Sarah-Jane just gets on with it. Heavily pregnant she cooked me dinner not letting me lift a finger as we chatted and nattered like we always do; listening to each others joys and woes, dishing out sage words when it seemed appropriate and just enjoying each others company. It was a lovely night. I love Sarah-Jane to bits. We've always worked well like that though. We just get on.

Ben is in South Africa at the moment doing a bunch of gigs so I just thought it would be nice to go and keep Sarah-Jane company. When the evening was spent I curled up under the duvet with cat #2 and felt a real part of their family. A family which is soon to explode with three times the screaming, three times the nappies and three times the chaos. Let the fun begin. I'm looking forward to it.

Brain Teasers: The answers...

1. The letter 'n'.

2. 7293/14586 (as Dave pointed out) or 6729/13458 or (6+9)/(1+2+3+4+5+7+8) etc.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Don't Cry Out Loud...

My parents had a music system in the 70s that I wasn't allowed to touch. If I ever meet that fucking Elkie Brooks I'll kick her to death.

Brain Teasers...

1. Believe it or not, there is something that is in London which can also be seen in both France *and* New York. What is it?

2. Make a fraction to express one half using all the digits from one to nine. There are a few ways to do it I think.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Nano, Pico, Femto, Atto...

All that scratching's making me itch. Maybe I'll wait for the diamond screen version.

Duckie’s Big Saturday Night Seaside Special...

Duckie certainly know how to put on a party and at the end of November they'll be putting on a corker down in Bexhill-On-Sea. Come!


Ticket prices: £8 / £5
Specialising in a fusion of live art and variety, Duckie present a packed evening of contemporary performance, fun, dancing and socialising to mark the re-opening of this beautiful 1930's Grade 1 listed building on the south coast. Performing VARIETY ACTS that last no longer than 5 minutes is an all star line up including Tommy Angel, A.K, Marcia Farquar, Helen Paris, Leslie Hill, Miss High Leg Kick and special guest local performers from Bexhill on Sea, Bexhill Harmony, Sheik's Delight and Ann Dalton. Disc Jockeys Readers Wifes soundtrack the relaxed party as dance cards are issued and hostess Miss Amy Lamé introduces the new wave vaudeville. Patrons are requested to dress to impress, and smoking, drinking and smoozing are encouraged in this one off Saturday night special party.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Trinity Reunion...

It really was great to see both my college friends Sarah and John last Friday at the Trinity College Reunion. Sarah hasn't changed a bit - still as full of fun and life as ever. John, on the other hand, looks like he has lived what we used to call wryly 'a full and prosperous life' (yes, matey, I'm saying you've put on weight! Ha, ha.) It was great to see the other guys too - Martin and Imre and Jonathan and Stuart and Mike and Dan and David and everyone else. A room full of familiar faces, albeit slightly the worse for gravity's cruel pull.

However... (deep breath)... it was quite a lot for me to process really. It had been 24 years since I first went to Trinity, 21 years since I left and 17 years since I had last even darkened its door to pick up my MA. And to say time is a great healer is as trite as it is wrong. There was still lots of stuff for me to come to terms with and (re)evaluate. Frankly I still burn with some quite painful memories but (as I happily discovered) there were some really great ones to recollect too. Although I didn't exactly get an opportunity to exorcise my demons I did finally get a chance to talk about them. Which did help. Who says therapy doesn't work, huh? And indeed chatting to friends after I got back from the reunion over this past weekend gone has been strangely cathartic too. By actually vocalising my personal experiences with the unholy Trinity: Love Unreturned, Love Unrequited and Love with Menaces I think I'm actually starting to come to terms with what happened to me back then. In fact I might even go as far as to say that I am actually now feeling better about what happened and indeed myself. Which can't be bad, right?

And if truth be told I am probably quite looking forward to going to the next reunion 5 years hence. Now there's something I didn't thing I'd be saying a week ago.


Thank you everyone who came to wish me a happy birthday yesterday in Comptons and Bar Code - far too many to mention by name - but thank you one and all. And thank you for all your cards and presents too. I shall be watching, reading, listening and quaffing for some time to come.

A couple of points of order though: that wine did stain after all... it wasn't a sock... and that new 11 o'clock school-night curfew is a winner (feeling almost daisy fresh this morning).

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Forty-Four Club......

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me-e
Happy Birthday to me!

I share a birthday with a number of 'famous' people. Many of whom I have never heard of. But the ones that always stick in my mind are generally from the world of entertainment: Linda Hamilton, Julie London, George Gershwin, T S Eliot, Winnie Mandela (er, OK, not really in the 'entertainment' camp - more tyre-burning perhaps), Anne Robinson and Will Self (who was born on the exact day I was incidentally).

Closer to my heart though are two particular people who I greatly admire and who I am proud to say I was born on the same day as them both. And they are Bryan Ferry (I have always been a big Roxy Music fan) and the ever youthful Olivia Newton-John. Hopelessly devoted to them both.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Virtus vera nobilitas...

Aged eleven I went to a comprehensive school in Stevenage. It was an all-boy's school and a bit of rough old place really. The pecking order was established fairly early on by fights amongst the kids - an example set for us by the sometimes violent staff (expulsions for threatening behaviour by both staff and pupils were not uncommon). Being a sensitive child I was petrified. But despite, and possibly because of, that I kept my nose in a book and studied quite hard. I consequently did quite well exam-wise (12 O-levels, 5 A-levels) - helped along by the fact that I fancied the pants off my maths teacher (male) for my first three years and then both my physics teachers (one male, one female) in the fifth and sixth forms. I was very eager to please. A swot, basically. And my parents, while never what you might call pushy, were too very proud of my results. Neither of them had ever been to university. They were overjoyed when I was encouraged to stay on and do a seventh term in the sixth form and take the Oxbridge entrance exam (no one had done that at our school for over twenty years). Much to my surprise (no, really!) and what I can only put down to luck I won an entrance award (something called an Exhibition) to study at Trinity College, Cambridge. An Exhibition is when you do rather well in the entrance exam, better than a mere pass but not as good as say a Scholarship. As I say, I didn't say I was actually clever. Just lucky.

Socially my three years at Trinity were initially fantastic but descended into probably the most difficult, and in many ways the unhappiest, three years of my life. I find it hard to talk about it even now. I can't really bring myself to go into the details of what happened but I had my heart broken and am not proud of how I reacted. I was also threatened and bullied in my final year which rather ruined the whole experience.

Academically I faired somewhat better - studying cosmology, advanced quantum mechanics & general relativity (yeah, yeah I know, easy options, huh?). The entrance award had given me better lodgings and also money towards accommodation. As a result I was able to live in college all three years. It was a sheltered existence which meant I didn't have to face the real world - far more gown than town life.

So what did I get out of the experience? Well, officially I am the not-so-proud owner of letters after my name. To be precise they are MA (Hons) Cantab MBCS. But that's not much to show for three years at university. I have no friends from there - no one I keep in contact with. Not one a single person. Sad really. And if anyone asks about where I went to university I tend to just keep it quiet. I don't like to talk about Cambridge. I'm frankly embarrassed I ever went there.

Which brings us to today. And given my hatred of the place just how can I explain that in six hours I am going to my first college reunion at Trinity College, Cambridge? 21 years after swearing I'd never go back there I'm currently packing a dinner jacket, bow tie and cummerbund. I shall be having tea with the Master, drinks with the Fellows, attend dinner in Great Hall and stay the night in college. Oh, and there's all my contemporaries to see.

So why am I going? I was contacted. Via Friends Reunited. By Sarah. Someone I was at college with. And she persuaded me to go. Using the powers of logic. "You have to come", she said. And she's right. I do have to go. Damn logic! Gets me every time!

So here I am waiting to go. I'm nervous. Churning with emotions. And actually genuinely afraid. I must be mad. But this is the new me. I do have to go. I'll be 44 on Monday for God's sake and it's about bloody time I lay some of these ghosts to rest. About bloody time. So it's carpe diem all the way. Virtus vera nobilitas.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The George and Dragon Public House at the ICA...

Last night David, Ian and I went to a rather unusual version of one of our regular watering holes: The George and Dragon in Hackney Road has been rather lovingly transposed into the ICA. This is not a recreation but an abstraction and translation of the elements that define the G + D experience, it says here.

The popular East End boozer is displayed as part of the exhibition London in Six Easy Steps. These exhibitions attempt to examine London as it is today, to make sense of how the city’s social and political imperatives condition the production, presentation and interpretation of art.

All well and good - but it worked for us. After a casual glance round we three parked ourselves at the bar, ordered beers and started gossiping and chewing over the days news as if we had just walked into the G + D itself. We soon forgot we were in an art installation.

So a success then.

Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire...

See the new Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire trailer here. Cool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Kate Bush: King Of The Mountain...

Psst! Wanna hear Kate Bush's new single King Of The Mountain - then pop along to Radio 2's Ken Bruce show and go to about 35 mins in. I love it!!

Reissue; First things first...

First vinyl 7" I ever bought: Heart of Stone by Kenny (1973)
First vinyl 12" I ever bought: California Dreaming by Colorado (1978)
First vinyl EP I ever bought: On Stage EP by Kate Bush (1979)
First vinyl LP I ever bought (not my money): The Sound Of Music (1967)
First vinyl LP I ever bought (my money): Waterloo by Abba (1974)
First cassette single I ever bought: Into Battle by Art Of Noise (1984)
First cassette album I ever bought: Sulk (UK/US version double-sided) by the Associates (1982)
First CD single I ever bought: Got To Be Certain by Kylie Minogue (1988)
First CD album I ever bought: Welcome To The Pleasuredome by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)
First pre-recorded video cassette I ever bought: Kate Bush Live At The Hammersmith Odeon (1981)
First DVD video I ever bought: The Matrix (1999)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

RVT Auction: Live!...

I just watched the RVT auction live today at the auctioneers web site and listened to it on the phone on 09016 030024 (60p per minute thanks very much). I even recorded it.

Listen to the introduction to the bidding

The bidding started at 13:16 with an opening bid of £500,000 followed by 525, 550, 575, 600 etc...

Listen to is how the bidding starts...

700, 710, 720...

Listen to how it continues...

770, 775, 780...

Listen to how the bidding continues apace...

995, 1 million, 1 million & 5, 1 million and 10...

Listen to how it rises...

1 million & 80, 1 million & 85, anyone else? anyone? going for 1 million & 85, 1 million and 85 thousand.

...and finally listen to how it concludes.


So that was £1,085,000 at 13:22 precisely.


Me and Stevie P!When I was in Sydney earlier on this year I was in a club and someone tapped me on the shoulder... Yay! Stevie P! And when I was in Sitges in June I was in a bar and someone tapped me on the shoulder... Yay (again)! Stevie P (again)! And when I was in Ibiza the week before last I was in Amnesia and again someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, "we must get different travel agents!"... Yay (yet again)! Stevie P.(yet again)! "Which one of us is following the other? Ha, ha"... "Let's get a picture to prove it to Dave!" So we did. Small world.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ooh LA LA...

Last week I went see two films both with very different takes on life in Los Angeles.

On it's crudest level Me & You & Everyone We Know is about sex. Sex & relationships. Sex & relationships & the strange things people do. Albeit the more conventional contact between a man & a woman struggling to date, two teenagers desperate to have their first sexual experience or the more comical chat-room meeting between unsuspecting strangers. And no, I didn't know what 'back & forth' was either! Recommended.

Crash is an intelligently written ensemble piece exploring racism in present day LA. Slick, pacy & compelling it's message was clear - we all have the propensity to be racist, self-racist etc. It's how we act on these base feelings that define us. Oh, & it's very funny. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I (Want) Tunes...

I'm getting a bit fed up with my Sony MP3 player (or Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1 to give it it's full name). Sure it plays music fine. But even the latest SonicStage software it uses is just pathetic; it's slow, bereft of features, cumbersome and (worst of all) you can't easily create playlists on the fly. I want to be able to line up the next set of tracks - not have to wait until the last one has finished. V v frustrating.

So since it's my birthday in ten days time (hint, hint) I've decided to treat myself to a new toy. The only thing is... I can't decide. iPod Color or iPod Nano. (Or both!)

UPDATE: Well, I've taken the plunge and bought myself an iPod 60Gb. Charging as we speak. Work have chipped in part of the money as a birthday present so that's taken some of the sting out of the £339 price tag. But God, do the people who work in stores (and specifically the people who work in the Apple Store in Regent Street) know how to take the fun out of shopping? Patronising remark, sigh, patronising remark, sigh, sigh, amble off to ask another sales guy, shake head, amble back, patronising remark. I was only trying to find out what came in the bloody box in case I need to buy extra cables or a docking station. Yes, I know what USB is. Yes, I know what a power supply is. Don't patronise me, you (admittedly rather handsome) gibbon! Rant over.

One Hour Later Tube Proposal - Consultation Results Available...

Just got this from TfL.

Earlier this year we conducted a public consultation on the proposal to change the operating hours of the Tube at weekends. We proposed to run trains an hour later, meaning that last trains would depart from the West End on Friday and Saturday nights at around 1.30am and first trains would arrive at Central London stations at around 7am on Saturdays and 8:30am on Sundays. We have now published the consultation results. A record number of responses (around 54,000) were received and we are now in the process of considering all the issues raised. A decision on how to proceed in the light of them will be made later in the year. The full consultation report and executive summary can now be found on the TfL website
If you have any questions or would like hard copies of the report or executive summary in alternative languages or formats please email us at onehourlater@tfl.gov.uk or ring 020 7941 3920.
Yours sincerely
Mike Bartram
Head of TfL Consultation

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Google Blog Search...

Google has unveiled a website that lets people search web journals or blogs.

Google says that the software powering the the search site will index all weblogs not just the ones published on (the Google-owned) Blogger.

Further, the index only holds blog postings from June 2005 forward but Google said it was working on ways to add older posts.

I wonder how Google knows a site is a blog rather than some other type of site?

Pop Quiz: The Answers...

01. Leopard
02. Tiger
03. Lion
04. Flamingo
05. Albatross
06. Robin
07. Elephant
08. Gorilla
09. Ape
10. Gibbon
11. & 12. Any six of Lobster, Dogfish, Catfish, Mantaray, Stingray, Jellyfish, Piranha, Sea Robin, Narwhal or Whale
13. Lizard
14. Snake
15. Turtle
16. Frog
17. Pig
18. Cat
19. Dog
20. Rabbit

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pop Quiz...

Last night David and I went to the Retro Bar Retroteasers Pop Quiz for the first time in simply ages. It was good fun just the two of us perched at the bar surrounded by faces old and new, reminiscing about the good old days when Pop Quiz was a weekly event for us both. Sadly our other partner in crime, Darren, couldn't join us as he was applying liberal amounts of sticky tape and glitter to his new cinema in Greenwich. (Good luck on your big opening by the way, Darren!)

The quiz had the theme of animals owing to the fact that this coming Sunday is Gay Day at London Zoo.

Every answer was an animal. There was £80 in the kitty (pun intended) and we did really well. The winners got 20/20 (Damn there eyes!) but we came a close second. Well, we got 19/20. Which sort of meant we came second. Well, when I say second... strictly speaking we got a score that equaled the second highest score. Because *loads* of people got 19/20. It was dead easy quiz you see. Which as we both agreed are actually the most fun. It appeals to the know-it-all in us both. Enough of my rambling though. On with the quiz.

In each case I just want the animal from the clue.

01. Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def ...
02. Hot Topic - Le ...
03. Iron, ..., Zion - Bob Marley
04. ... - Fleetwood Mac
05. ... - Manfred Mann
06. Rockin' ... - Jackson 5
07. White Stripes album
08. Chart topping single Dare - ...
09. Super ... - Lee Scratch Perry
10. The Funky ... - The Goodies
11. Three sea animals mentioned in Rock Lobster by the B-52s
12. Three more sea animals mentioned in Rock Lobster by the B-52s
13. Money - The Flying ...
14. Fool For Your Lovin' - White...
15. Can You Dig It? - Mock ...
16. Axel F - Crazy ...
17. She Said - Long ...
18. Cool For ... - Squeeze
19. I Wanna Be Your ... - Iggy Pop
20. Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Celine's Heart Will Go On... And On...

Singer Celine Dion cries (and sings) out for help for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in this CNN interview. Set toes for 'curl'.
[Thanks David]

Friday, September 09, 2005

The RVT is up for sale...

This just in from Guy... The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is up for sale by auction on 20th Sept. at the New Connaught Rooms in London. Starting bid £750,000. Andrews & Robertsons - Auctions Lot 59.

UPDATE: I now know a lot more about this but can say very little. All will be revealed at the auction. All I can say is in general at a property auction; (a) require you to prove you have the money to bid, (b) you need to come up with the money within three days of your winning bid, (c) there is very little time for surveys or searches to be done even if you are allowed access & (d) the winning bid could be way above what you think you are going to pay. Way above.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible...

I'm back home now. And the weather is probably slightly better than Ibiza! Blogging from a computer is so much easier than what I'd been doing while I was away; letter-by-letter blogging from my phone and using the e-mail feature of blogger to do the publishing. Luckily I have today off too so it's off down Snappy Snaps to get my snaps developed and to pick up a card for Drew - it's his birthday tomorrow.

Back in the UK now lying on an inflatable bed in Chelmsford at 2:30am...

Back in the UK now lying on an inflatable bed in Chelmsford at 2:30am. The way you do. Michael & Andrew are kindly putting me up as my flying sedatives mean I can't drive for another four hours. Our last night & day in Ibiza didn't fail to disappoint. We had a lovely meal in the old town, a last drink at Angelo's & a last shake of our collective tail feathers at Anfora's. And big up to Jose, Donald & Andrew for making my last night especially special. The last day on the beach to top up the tan was followed by a farewell sangria at the Cenit. Natch. Then a dash back to the hotel for a quick shower before dropping off the hire cars and a take-off to landing diazepam induced snooze on the 23:50 red eye back to 'London' Stansted. And nice to be back it is. Chillax quotient: Low. Three glasses of wine, tequila shots, eight beers last night, two glasses of sangria today. Large bottle of water. Three cigarettes. One stressful flight home. 10mg diazepam for said flight. Four hours sleep last night. Two hours sleep on the plane.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dinner with Andy, Tim, Gary, John & Richard last night. An hour & forty minutes we waited for our fucking main course! Grrrr! Anyways, the rest of the evening was delightful at Angelo's & Red Bar. Home by the perfectly respectable time of 5am.
Today started with a thunderstorm with torrential rain but it cleared up enough for us to do a tour of the island ending up in Café Del Mar for cocktails & to watch the sunset. Marvelous.
Tonight is our last night so no doubt it will be binge & tinge. That is to say binge drinking - tinged with a touch of sadness.
Chillax quotient: High. Seven beers last night, one today. No water. No cigarettes. Six hours sleep.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Alforo (spelled it right this time) last night was fab. Even the stripper seemed good! All the gang were there i.e. Andy, Kevin, Andy, Tim, Andrew, Michael, Stuart, Gary, Hendrik, Paul, Dirk, Andreas, Fred, Tony etc etc. I had a bit of an odd nobody-loves-me moment at one point & went home for a little 20 minute cry (it's the most weird things that can set you off) but bounced back and danced till dawn. Had a fabulous day on the beach & we watched the sunset with sangria in hand at the Cenit pool. Lovely.
Personnel Update: Martin & Richard have left. Neil leaves tonight. Kevin joined us at the weekend. Richard leaves tomorrow first thing.
Chillax quotient: High. Six beers, two glasses of sangria. Half bottle of water. One cigarette. Four hours sleep.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sleep did the trick. I left the apartment for the first time in 48 hours last night to meet the boys for a beer and felt almost normal. Later on I had dinner with Martin & Richard, met the boys again at JJ's before we headed to Angelo's for a pre club beer as per normal. After that we walked round the port to Scandals at Penelope's. Penelope's is a club straight out of the early 1980's with heaps of chrome, sharply angled black décor & subdued lighting. Think The Stud. Think The Bitch. Think Basic Instinct. All it needed was Jackie Collins. Not a place we'll be rushing back to.
Today we were up at noon again for a much missed trip to the beach. It was a little cloudy but still very hot. Needless to say I slightly overdid it. Tonight I'm out for dinner with Andy, Kevin, Neil & Ian before joining the others at Angelo's prior to Alforno for the Black Out party. Back in the saddle then.
Chillax quotient: Medium. Five beers. One bottle of water. Two cigarettes. Five hours sleep.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I'm feeling ill again today so staying in bed with the curtains closed. Still bunged up & sore throat so more sleep has got to help, right?
Chillax quotient: Very high. No beers. Four litres of water. 4 doses of odd red Spanish powder remedy. 12 aspirin. No cigarettes. 36 hours sleep on & off.

Note to self #1: Hotel minibars are not only expensive & poorly stocked but contain very little by way of nutritional value.

Note to self #2: Gone In 60 Seconds in Spanish is slightly better than Gone In 60 Seconds in English in that you don't have to even pretend to follow that terrible dialogue.

Note to self #3: (But I already knew this) Andy Ruffett is a complete star. He's been checking up on me & air-dropping in some much needed supplies (I was out of water & food).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The best laid plans...

The best laid plans... no daytime dancing at Space for me. The niggling tickle in my throat has developed into a full on sore throat & head cold. So I'm stuck in bed with a good book, a box of Keenlex & a big box of medicine the local Ibiza pharmacist gave me. The box contains a weird coarse reddish powder but as the instructions are in Spanish so I don't know whether to sniff it, dissolve it in water & swallow it or make sandcastles with it. Maybe by doing all three I'll get high, get better & keep myself amused all at the same time. Time will tell.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Just about to have a disco nap so will be quick...

Just about to have a disco nap so will be quick. Last night was 70s/80s night at Anfora: the likes of the Boney M megamix, Village People & the entire SAW back catalogue made it's weekly outing. Hey ho. It was a late one too. We did a bit of a tour of Ibiza today spending most of our time at a rock face on the other side of the island snorkeling & sunbathing. Meal tonight in town and then early night as getting up to go to Space at 10am tomorrow. Well that's the plan! Chillax quotient: High then Low. Five beers last night, two today. One bottle of water. No cigarettes. Three hours sleep last night: blame Pete Waterman.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

And for those wondering...
'Chillax' is slang; being a compound root word made up from 'chilled out' and 'relaxing'. Hence chillaxing (or chilaxing as some scholars prefer), to chillax and chillax quotient.
Chillax quotient is a measure of how chilled out & relaxing something is. A chillax quotient of 'high' means something is very chilled out and relaxing. A 'low' quotient means it's wild & manic.

Only got two hours sleep before having to move hotels. Now in a pretty Glam apartment - think port view, think distressed décor, exposed masonry, blue Mediterranean colours and a Changing Room style. Spent the day with Andy & Ian up at Cenit pool again.
Chillax quotient: High. Two beers. Two bottles of water. No cigarettes. Lots of swimming & sunbathing.

It's 8am and I just got back from Amnesia. It was fun but not as much fun as I remember when I last there in 1987. All the lads were there from the BBQ plus our crew. Big up to Jason for coming through on the guest list. Saved us ?50 a head.
Chillax quotient: Low. Two beers (?10 a pop thank you very much). No bottles of water. No cigarettes. Got to be up in 3 hours as moving hotels.