Quote Of The Day

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Eve Drinks at the Welly...

On Christmas Eve we went down to the Wellington in Soho for a few bevvies to celebrate the Yuletide. We had a great time; arriving early and leaving early. After all, we didn't want to miss Santa.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Right Angle...

Do you know a right angle when you see one? Can you tell if something is square or not? Why not try this fab little angles game.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth...

It was a freezing afternoon at the Emirates as we took on Portsmouth. And it was pretty flat game too. Luckily Paul had managed to magic up a hip flask so with a drop or two of rum inside us things looked somewhat rosier. Luckily Gallas managed to rustle us up a goal. But we didn't really deserve it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Doctor Who: The Next Doctor...

"Christmas Eve, 1851, and Cybermen stalk the snow of Victorian London. But when one Doctor meets another, they must combine forces to stop the rise of the CyberKing."

Hmm. Well, we weren't too impressed with this year's festive Doctor Who. Previous Christmas Specials had been way better. Even the Kylie one last year was more fun. AS for this one, the Cybermen have been scarier, the Cyberdogs were pretty poor and where was the jeopardy? Let's hope the other 'specials' this year are better. Roll on Stephen Moffat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Opposites attract...

A little while ago Stu and I were over for dinner at some dear friends of ours when the conversation drifted round to 'opposites attract'. According to our hostess, one illustration of this phenomenon is that in every happy couple there is always an organised and tidy one (her) and a more spontaneous, less organised one (him). It helps if one partner is more obsessed with tidiness than the other, right? Nods of recognition all round from everyone round the table. "So," she asks brightly, "which one of you two is the anal one?" We needed the Heimlich manoeuvre to stop Stu choking.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool...

Paul adn I were at the Emirates yesterday afternoon. In true footie style.. we was Robbied! It was a game that saw seven yellow cards, much booing (mainly of the referee), some jeering and not nearly enough cheering. Robin Van Persie scored a blinder. Emmanuel Adebayor was hashly red carded. Robbie Keane fouled and fluked his way through the match. All fantastic fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Carpets! It's Madness! It's Carpet Madness!...

As they say on telly: It's Carpets! It's Madness! It's Carpet Madness! My carpets went in last weekend and things are looking good. Just a few more things to polish off and it'll all be done. Yay! And for those of you that have never seen where I live, this is it!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Natural Harvest...

For those of you who don't know about lulu.com: you can write a book, upload it on the website and people can either pay to download it, or order a copy, which is printed on demand so the writer doesn't need to pay any money upfront to have it published.

When writing this recipe book, Fotie Photenhauer was probably not too confident in its success, so lulu.com was the wisest choice. Admittedly, the reviewers have mixed opinions.

Natural Harvest - A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes

[Thanks Ian]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Man 'Flu...

I've got man 'flu. Well actually it might be just a heavy cold. Monday morning I had all the symptoms; sneezing, coughing, aching all over and genreally feeling lousy. By Monday night I was sweating like a pig and last night I was shivering with cold under three duvets. Today I've dosed myself up with Lemsip Max, Strepsils Extra and Nurofen Plus (don't you just love all those Max, Extra and Plus words. Makes it seem like they really work, right?) and crawled into work. Got a big day ahead and can't be sick.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Party ft the grumpiest Santa ever...

On Sunday Stuart and I went to Upminster to meet up with the gang for Christmas lunch at The West Lodge, Essex. It was great fun; eating, drinking, dancing and 'Pete, the Music Man' (think Raw Sex). To top it off Stuart dressed up as Santa Claus to entertain the kids. He doesn't really like kids which is of course why we made him do it! He is, officially, the grumpiest Santa ever! Needless to say he was brilliant! 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Magic Genie...

Magical genie deduces what character you're thinking of through a series of questions. Great fun.

Classic House...

Here are some of my favourite classic house tracks. Happy days.

Ten City - That's The Way Love Is
Inner City - Good Life
Inner City - Big Fun
Joe Smooth - Promised Land
Sterling Void - It's All Right
Soul II Soul - Back To Life
Bizarre inc - Playing with knives
Candi Staton - You Got The Love
Rhythim Is Rhythim - Strings of Life
Raze - Break 4 Love
Richie Rich - Salsa House
Ralphi Rosario - You Used To Hold Me
LiL Louis - French Kiss
808 State - Pacific State
Todd Terry - Weekend
Bass-O-Matic - Fascinating Rhythm
Xpansions - Move Your Body

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Haven't Got A 404...

You're so Code 11. You haven't got a 404.

"It's just another form of the Queen's English - not better, not worse" - Jonathon Green, slang lexicographer.

118 118...

If you live in the UK you may know about 118 118 - the directory enquiries service. You may also know that you can also ask for telephone numbers and addresses by text. Well they expanded this service a little while ago and now they will answer any questions by text too. They publish these questions and answers as a live feed on their web site and it's really quite hypnotic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Strumpets Out, Cossacks In...

Our works Xmas party tomorrow night was going to be a Dickensian affair at Shunt, London Bridge. Unfortunately they've failed to get their licence so we've moved to a Russian Nostrovia themed night in Battersea Park. So it's strumpets out, Cossacks in! How corporate.

Black Hole...

Turns out there is not just a black hole in our public finances but also one in the centre of our Milky Way.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Congrats, I'm just upset that I didn't meet her first!!"...

"I finally did it, married my girlfriend of 5 years. She means the world to me, I cant believe what a lucky guy I am. I never thought I would find true love, but now that I have my life is complete. Here are the pictures from our ceremony."

Thin and Crusty...

The other day I phoned my local pizza delivery firm and asked for a thin and crusty supreme.

They sent me Diana Ross.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Arsenal 1-0 Wigan...

It was a fairly grim performance yesterday afternoon but at least we got the three points we needed from Emmanuel Adebayor's first half winner. Bag-o-shite Emmanuel Eboue's brief appearance in the second half would had been laughable if it hadn't been such a risk. Hopefully he'll be gone in January.

Paul and I went to the Drayton Arms both before and after the match. Great fun.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Nouvelle Vague (gig + a pop quiz all in one)...

Having canceled shows left, right and centre recently we were lucky to see '60s Bossa nova-style funsters Nouvelle Vague last night at the Kentish Town Forum. And lucky was the right word. They were great. Stu, Drew, David and I watched them perform all their 'hits' i.e songs from their first two albums of covers (Nouvelle Vague and Bande A Part) and also stuff from their forthcoming (as yet unnamed) third album. Most of the night was spent playing "name that tune"; a gig + a pop quiz all in one!

The highlight of the night though was the performance of The Dead Kennedys' Too Drunk to Fuck. Mid-song the lead singer took a swig from her bottle of water and then sprayed the rest at the audience. Immediately an open water bottle sail through the air from the middle of the crowd and hit her on the head. It exploded in a shower of water, drenching her. She then spat her mouth full of water back at the crowd again. It was water fight! It all happened really fast and we laughed hysterically. As did she. Still singing she then jumped down from the stage and waded through the crowd to get to the bar. Got a drink. And then waded back again to the stage to finish the song. Bonkers.

Below are the track listings of the first two albums to give you a feeling of what else we listened to:

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division)
"Just Can't Get Enough" (Depeche Mode)
"In a Manner of Speaking" (Tuxedomoon)
"Guns of Brixton" (The Clash)
"This Is Not a Love Song" (Public Image Ltd.)
"Too Drunk to Fuck" (Dead Kennedys)
"Marian" (The Sisters of Mercy)
"Making Plans For Nigel" (XTC)
"A Forest" (The Cure)
"I Melt with You" (Modern English)
"Teenage Kicks" (The Undertones)
"Psyche" (Killing Joke)
"Friday Night Saturday Morning" (The Specials)
"Sorry for Laughing" (Josef K)
"Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" (A Flock of Seagulls)
"The Killing Moon" (Echo & the Bunnymen)
"Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" (Buzzcocks)
"Dance with Me" (Lords of the New Church)
"Don't Go" (Yazoo)
"Dancing with Myself" (Generation X)
"Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2)
"O Pamela" (The Wake)
"Heart of Glass" (Blondie)
"Confusion" (New Order)
"Human Fly" (The Cramps)
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" (Bauhaus)
"Shack Up" (A Certain Ratio)
"Let Me Go" (Heaven 17)
"Fade to Grey" (Visage)
"Moody" (ESG)
"Sweet and Tender Hooligan" (The Smiths)
"Blue Monday" (New Order)
"Escape Myself" (The Sound)
"Waves" (Blancmange)
"Israel" (Siouxsie & the Banshees)
"Eisbär" (Grauzone)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

TfL Travel Tools...

The TfL web site has some rather super new travel tools; live departure boards for every tube station, live travel news and of course journey planners and maps.

Star Trek trailer...

Here's the new Star Trek movie trailer. Looks good.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Eurostar Ordeal...

Marcus and I went to Paris for the weekend. Only what was meant to be a pleasant trip was marred by a fault on our Eurostar train. Almost half way through the channel tunnel it broke down losing all power. The battery onboard (you mean they only have one?) then ran out and we were then plunged into total darkness. Trapped under the sea for almost three hours. The temperature and carbon dioxide levels rose rapidly and many people where in a panic. We couldn't open the windows or the doors, there were no announcements, no Eurostar staff to tell us that help was on the way, no water, no nothing. Not even International Rescue. Eventually we were towed out to the French side and transferred onto another train at Calais. Five hours late we rolled into Gard Du Nord. Waiting for us was a media scrum where I gave an interview to the television cameras telling them what an ordeal we'd had.

(All CET)
10:40 Left St Pancras
11:55 Breakdown mid-tunnel
12:35 Air con fails. Lights fail. No announcements. Heat rises. CO2 levels rise. Can't open windows or doors.
13:55 Moving again slowly
14:40 Train finally out of tunnel
15:25 Still no air con. No power. No announcements. Towed into station
15:45 First door forced open - hanging roof panel exposes wires
15:50 Policeman finally tells us we will be detrained then go to to Lille then Paris
16:15 Detrained with the army and many police officers in attendance just in case anyone felt like making their dissatisfaction known
16:40 Train sets off for Lille. No bar service or food. They could have told us so we could have bought things at station!
16:55 Announcement about free ticket compensation and free emergency rations to be made available.
17:15 Arrive Lille
17:25 Announcement that we'll be in Paris at 18:25
18:25 Arrived Paris Gard De Nord. Gave press interview.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Phantom Of The Opera...

Stu and I did something last night that I meant to do twenty years ago; go and see The Phantom Of The Opera. It was OK actually. A few good songs. And more theatrics than you can shake a stick at. Sadly there was no Michael Crawford or Sarah Brightman on stage last night (joke).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sam Taylor-Wood...

The other Sunday The South Bank Show featured the rather marvelous Sam Taylor-Wood. Taylor-Wood is a long-time collaborator with Pet Shop Boys having produced films for their Somewhere concerts at the Savoy Theatre, London. She has also been guest vocalist on two Pet Shop Boys produced songs - in the Boys' rendition of Serge Gainsbourg's Je t'aime... moi non plus and Donna Summer's Love to Love You Baby. For the latter of these two releases, she used the pseudonym Kiki Kokova. Recently another Sam Taylor-Wood and Pet Shop Boys collaboration was out, this time it was a cover of I'm In Love With A German Film Star by The Passions, accompanied by a video directed by Baillie Walsh. Fab.


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Arsenal 1-0 Dynamo Kiev...

It was a frustrating 90 minutes but just when Paul and I thought it was all over Bendtner gave us a gift and carried us through to the Champions League knockout phase. It was more a steady than spectacular performance but it was important to win the game.

Monday, November 24, 2008

When In Rome...

Another day on the tourist trail yesterday. Starting at the Roman Fora we crawled all over Imperial Rome again; Palatine Hill and Museum being particular highlights. Headless statue after headless statue began to get a little tiresome after hour three though. We ended up hopping on a 110 tourist bus to whizz round the remaining remains. For our last night in Rome we checked out a gay bar, slummed it in the Hard Rock Cafe and had a few martinis on the roof of our hotel. We then retired to our room to watch Roman Holiday on pay per view and have the rather gorgeous Marco deliver us yet more martinis. We're just about to check out and head to the airport.

Update: Just paid up. The martini bill alone was €130! Oops.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rome Wasn't Built In Day (but we tried to walk it in one)...

Yesterday we visited Capitoline Hill, the most sacred of ancient Rome where the Temples of Jupiter and Juno once stood. We mounted the Vittoriano steps for the panoramic view, passed through the Piazza del Campidoglio to the Capitoline Museum and wandered past the Imperial Fora to explore the Colosseum more fully. A quick look round the Arch of Constantine and it was back to the Spanish Steps for a late lunch and a beer. Later on we went out for a 5 course meal with wine, water and coffee all in €18. Excellent. We also stumbled across a cruising ground in the massive park next to our hotel. Needless to say we stayed well clear.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All Roads Lead To Rome (still)...

Yesterday was our first full day of sightseeing in Rome. With comfortable shoes on feet and guide book in hand we set off for our first destination, the Vatican City. Taking in the Tridente and the Tiber en route we soon realized that St Peter's Basilica was a no-hoper; the queue in Piazza San Pietro was massive. Ignoring invitations to queue jump (for a not inconsiderable sum) we rather half-heartedly wandered round to the Vatican Museums. Apparently the queues for the Sistine Chapel are often prohibitive too. We were in luck though. There was no queue at all. Result. So we wandered in and meandered up and down room after room of priceless antiquities taking snaps of the most impressive ones. Finally we made it through to the Sistine Chapel itself. We weren't particularly impressed to be honest and there was no Charlton Heston in sight so we moved on. Returning to St Peter's the queue had greatly reduced so we decided to join it. The Basilica was huge inside. Sadly no Pope was in sight and so no Papal ring to kiss. The climb to the top of the dome was pretty exhausting mind you; 551 steps. Phew. After the Vatican we experienced a bit of rip-off Rome and had a snack costing €44. Blimey. We then made our way back to our hotel via the Pantheon for a brief rest.

In the evening we took the metro via the Spanish Steps to the San Giovanni district to eat, see the Colosseum and watch a firework display. Cool.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Roman Hoilday...

We arrived safe and sound in Rome. We look the Time Out guide's advice and avoided taxis getting the train instead. It was cheaper and faster. The hotel is nice and central. We attempted a little bit of exploring with what remained of our day but spent most of our time dodging traffic and the multitude of scooters that seemed hell-bent of hospitalising us. We stopped for pizza which was pleasant enough and then ended up sipping martinis on the seventh floor of our hotel overlooking a floodlit St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. So first impressions have been good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All Roads Lead To Rome...

Stu and I are on our way to the Eternal City (via T5). Not looking
forward to the flight but am looking forward to the Roman ways.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I've just bought myself a new compact digital camera. A Samsung NV100HD. A risky thing to do just before going on holiday I realise. The specs look good though; 14.7M, wide angle lens, hi-def, ISO 3200, face detection, blink detection, smile detection, beauty shot, anti-red eye, etc. Time will tell if it's any good as a camera!

Andrew's Party...

On Sunday was Andrew's birthday and he threw a party. All the gang was there so it was nice to catch up with everyone. Below are some of the snaps I took. And you can see the others by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rome (where you want to)...

Stu and I are off to Rome on Thursday for a long weekend. I've not been for twenty-five years. And Stu has never been but has always wanted to go. Main task of the trip? Nun spotting.

And thanks to Luca for the tourist tips.

Decorators Caulk...

Hudd gave me a shopping list of things to get at the DIY store. "We need some Decorators Caulk", he said. He wasn't grinning so I guessed that that was what we needed. Some Decorators Caulk.

Fast forward twenty minutes and I was at the counter of the DIY store. "Can I have some Decorators Caulk please?" All smirks behind the counter. "Quick hardening or slow hardening?" says the guy. "Quick hardening", say I. "We only have white. We don't do black caulk. That OK?". More smirking. I redden somewhat realising that they are taking the piss out of me. "No, that's fine. White's fine. Four please".

After I get back Hudd tells we. It's pronounced "cork" not "cock". Opps.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sky back on Virgin TV...

Last Thursday Sky came back on Virgin TV. Peace has broken out at last. The new channels are Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky 3, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Arts, Sky Arts 2, Sky Real Lives and Sky Real Lives 2. So we get to see new The Simpsons again. Yay!

To Be Straight With You...

Last Friday Stu treated me to a night at the National Theatre. We went to see DV8's fabulous show To Be Straight With You.

DV8 are a radical dance troupe whose work is often riveting, usually political and always sexy. This show was "a multi-ethnic cast in a poetic but unflinching exploration of tolerance, intolerance, religion and sexuality". It is based on hundreds of hours of audio interviews collected throughout the UK with people directly affected by homophobia; incorporating dance, text, documentary, animation and film. It was utterly fascinating, great fun to watch and very moving.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa...

I had a bad feeling about this game and what with our recent inconsistency in form to back me up I had all my fingers and toes crossed as the game started. Sadly things planned out the way I'd feared. We played awfully. Needless to say Paul and I were gutted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sarah's Birthday...

The gang was out last night for the lovely Sarah's birthday. We started off at the Refuel Bar at Soho Hotel and then moved on to Patara Thai in Greek Street. Great fun and always lovely to see everyone. Some more snaps here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arsenal 3-0 Wigan...

Paul, Barry, Cat and I went to the footie last night. It was a master class by the young gunners (average age 18) showing just how well they can play 'the beautiful game'. Good night out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Painter Man, Painter Man...

I've got three weeks off work so have decided to put the time to good use. I'm painting my flat. Well, to be more accurate first Simon and now Hudd are painting my flat for me and I'm merely the painter's mate (i.e. pretending to help). As with all painting it takes way longer than you first think, you come across more problems than you first think and you need to buy more paint than you first think. But boy is it worth it. The lads have done (and are continuing to do) a marvelous job. Brilliant white is the order of the day with just the odd splash of colour here and there. So it's all paint fumes and snow blindness round here at the moment. Should be worth it though.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd...

Oh my giddy aunt. We had our fingers crossed for this one. It was the first time we were playing another team from the "top four" this season and what with our recent dip in form... We've come in for a lot of stick in the last week or two what with drawing and/or losing against second rate teams. So the signs weren't good for this match.

As it turned out it was a wonderfully open game though. Because (rather than in spite) of our recent criticism and the sight of old rivals we were perhaps the more inspired of the two teams: Nasri scored after 22mins and again after 48mins. It fact it looked like we were all set for a comfortable win. But as ever Man U were not to be underrated - especially in the dying minutes of a game. The obviously biased ref (but I would say that) gave them a ridiculously generous six minutes of extra time but still they could only pull one back. So the final score of 2-1 was not only a blessed relief but also a fairly accurately reflection the play. Phew!

On a gossipy front, Robbie and Gary were reunited at match.

It's Carpets! It's Madness! It's Carpet Madness!...

So I went to Allied Carpets yesterday and their initial quote (full quote due from the pending measure up) for what was actually a cheaper carpet than John Lewis was still sky high. £4650! So I'm obviously way out of touch with the costs of carpets these days. And what puts the John Lewis costs into an even better light is this; I was coming out of Allied Carpets when I bumped into my neighbour. She said that she did a lot of research for their own recent recarpeting job and the cheapest they found was just over £6000. So it actually sounds like my John Lewis quote actually might be a good deal! My flabber had never been so gasted.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Never Knowlingly Undersold...

I like John Lewis. I really do. Nice products, friendly staff and great service. And let's not forget their motto: "Never Knowlingly Undersold".

But what does that motto mean exactly? I presume it means "we're the cheapest around - as far as we know" or maybe "we'll match the price of any other store" or even "we don't charge over the odds if we can help it"? I wonder. Apparently it means less than it did I year ago.

Why my pondering? Well, I got a quote for recarpeting my flat today. Two quotes actually. Both from John Lewis. The first was for cheap hard wearing carpet throughout the flat and the second was for some additional flooring in a small bathroom with vinyl tiles. And the cost including fitting? £4998 for the carpet and £467 for the vinyl. WHAT?! Am I so out of touch with the price of carpets? I thought it might be getting towards three grand from my back of envelope calculations but not five and half. And I don't even get a deep shag out of it (fnah).

So I think a trip up the road might be in order.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Crack A Joke, Lose Your Job...

Cari Mitchell of ECP thinks you should get sacked for cracking a joke. Oh for goodness sake. "Crack a joke, lose your job". Is that the new BBC motto these days! 

Arsenal 0-0 Fenerbahce...

Our league results have been disappointing in recent weeks unlike our European form. So it was with some excitement that Drew and I went to the Emirates last night. Sadly Fenerbahce held us to a draw. Grrr.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Star Wars Holiday Special...

Did you perhaps think that Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was the worst Star Wars production ever produced? Well, let me tell you that things got way, way worse back in 1978. Ladies and gentlemen I give you The Star Wars Holiday Special. Truly toe curling.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pet Shop Boys at The Brits...

The Pet Shop Boys will be presented with an outstanding contribution to music award at next year's Brits, it has been announced.

Mari Wilson...

Last Friday Darren, Stuart and I went to see Mari Wilson (sadly without The Wilsations although Michelle Collins was in the audience) at the Shaw Theatre.

Mari Wilson was basically touring to publicise her latest album Emotional Glamour and, as she put it, a gambol* through her hit. Nudging 60 but looking like she's nudging 40, Wilson is a quirky singer/songwriter who performs early 1960s styled pop music. We were treated to, amongst others, to; Beat The Beat, Cry Me A River, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and of course her classic Just What I Always Wanted.

Sadly no trademark beehive hairdo though.

*just in case you don't know (I didn't), gambol means to run about in a playful manner; frolic.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bad News Day...

Three bits of bad news at the moment:

1. David Tennant leaving Dr Who. It was to be expected I guess and perhaps inevitable what with a new producer coming in.

2. Russell Brand resigning. A complete overreaction. I used to love Russell's BBC Radio 6 and BBC Radio 2 shows. I thought the call he and Jonathan Ross made was very funny. End of.

3. Tottenham stealing a draw. See below.

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham...

Paul and I went to the game last night. Oh, my giggy aunt. The lucky, lucky bastards. We played by far the best game on the night and they stole goal after goal. It was certainly thrilling stuff right up until the last 40 seconds but, boy, did we deserve the win.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dead Set (against)...

I'm probably the only one who doesn't like the heavily promoted E4 horror show Dead Set. The reviews have all been pretty positive. But I don't really like zombie films - only one step up from awful money saving 'body snatcher' films. And I always think fake blood and fake gore looks 'cheap'. And fictionalised Big Brother is even worse than real Big Brother - even if it is a scathing attack on the genre. So I guess I was never going to like it. I do hope it's a success though as I think the idea of a nightly show over a whole week is good one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows Azure...

Yes, the truth is finally out. The 'next' version of Windows will be Windows Azure. Well, strictly speaking it'll not be a version of Windows per se but a service platform to run along side client based computing. So it's a collection of services really. Or as Microsoft put it, "software to give you the ability to build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications. The Azure Services Platform provides a wide range of internet services that can be consumed from both on-premises environments or the internet". So now you know.

Shorthand; they're going after Google and Amazon (and maybe Facebook) - to add IBM, Novell and Lotus to their scalps.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Justin Bond...

Last Friday Stu and I went to see cabaret artist and New York icon Justin Bond perform his show Lustre at the Soho Theatre.

It was a great show; potent, musical and very entertaining with just the right amount of pathos and the right amount of politics. I will confess however I do miss him performing as Kiki in Kiki and Herb and I hope the rumours of them not gigging again together are just that. The cancelled gigs earlier this summer were ominous though.

The two support acts were a cute accordion play (who we saw again the following night at Duckie) and Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lillies who performed the rather marvelous Banging in the Nails. Even today I'm still humming, "I'm bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, banging in the nails."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good Luck...

Are you good at finding things? Finding a four leaf clover is always good luck. Check out this fuzzy picture and see if you can spot it.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scott Capurro...

Last Sunday Mark organised tickets for Mikey, Kevin, Stuart and I to go and see Scott Capurro at the Hen and Chickens.

We didn't sit at the front - hey, we'd seen his act before and we didn't want to get picked on. That didn't stop him though. Mark got rather mercilessly bullied. When he did try to talk back - guess who had the microphone?

The material was 'challenging' (to say the least). And uncomfortable. But that's why it was funny. I guess. Well I laughed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

French & Saunders...

On Friday night Stuart, Paul, Simon and I went to see French & Saunders - Still Alive! at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

After 30 years together French and Saunders are finally calling time on their double act. Last year's A Bucket Of French & Saunders filled us with some anticipation - and not in a good way. We needn't have worried. The show was fantastic. A great mix of character comedy, parody and banter.

We were treated to old stuff reimagined; white room set Doctor's sketch, Jen's leotard clad reprise of her bulky Madonna impression, Sex Talk (the first sketch they wrote together), the original Ab Fab sketch and the expats from Biddeford marvelling at how big everything is in America.

And new stuff; The Vicar of Dibley vs. Absolutely Fabulous rivalry, Dawn taking a chocolate detector into the stalls and finding a rat in someone’s cleavage, a tragic bitter-sweet routine about two teens spending Christmas at boarding school, a pre-recorded Strictly Come Dancing sequence morphing into the old ladies dancing with mannequins of the show’s Anton du Beke and Brendon Cole and the sisters from Prickly Pear Farm in court.

The ending was a bit Little Britain (fat men's rubber willies) but very funny all the same.

Best line: “I banish you to UK Gold!” Too true. But is that such a bad thing?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Arsenal 3-1 Everton...

Marky and I went to the Emirates earlier to watch the game. A rampant second half display secured a much deserved win. Just reward for an impressive second half display coming from 0-1 behind. Yay!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gatito Exquisito...

Uber cute kittens. Fair enough. We all like snaps of a cute kittens. But much funnier is the comments at the bottom and the increasing enraged comments though, "Looks like these cats have down syndrome."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cyndi Lauper...

Last night Stuart, Guy, Cesar, Darren, David (and a load of other gayers) all went to see Cyndi Lauper perform at the Shepherds Bush Empire on her Bring Ya To The Brink World Tour.

Essentially promoting her new disco album Bring Ya To The Brink she also delighted us with pretty much all of her back catalogue of hits including Time After Time, She Bop, All Through The Night, Money Changes Everything, Change Of Heart, I Drove All Night, newy Into The Nightlife and of course Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and True Colors.

Great singalong fun. Stuart thought she looked a bit like Robyn though.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Microsoft Sound...

I'm a bit of a Brian Eno fan. But I had no idea he'd written the Windows 95 sound for Microsoft.

In 1994 Microsoft corporation designers Mark Malamud and Erik Gavriluk approached Brian Eno to compose music for the Windows 95 project. The result was the six-second start-up music-sound of the Windows 95 operating system, the The Microsoft Sound. In the San Francisco Chronicle he said:
“The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while, and was quite lost, actually, and I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem — Solve it!" The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional", this whole list of adjectives, and then, at the bottom, it said: "and it must be 3¼ seconds long". I thought this was so funny, and an amazing thought, to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made eighty-four pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny, little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds, at the end of this, that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then, when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were, like, three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.”

You can listen to all the Microsoft start-up sounds here. Ah memories.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Britain's Got The Pop Factor ... And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice...

Peter Kay's Britain's Got The Pop Factor ... And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice was hilarious. It ripped the piss out of Britain's Got Talent, Pop Idol, The X Factor, Any Dream Will Do, Soapstar Superstar, Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing On Ice perfectly. It got it just right; from the inconsistent judges' comments to the contestants' oh so sad sob stories.

The idea of having a medley for each contestant was brilliant too:

Heartrob R [Our] Wayne sang a medley of "Return to Innocence" by Enigma, "Love Train" by The O'Jays, "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson, "YMCA" by The Village People and "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" by the St Winifred's School Choir.

Semi wheelchair bound 2 Up 2 Down sang a medley of "We Built This City" by Starship, "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child, "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton, "Holding Out For A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler and "Hero" by Mariah Carey.

Oversized tranny Geraldine sang a medley of "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen, the theme to Born Free (perhaps best known as Andy Williams' version), "Free Nelson Mandela" by The Special AKA, "Umbrella" by Rihanna, "C'est la Vie" by B*witched and "Milkshake" by Kelis.

The single "The Winner's Song" was written by Peter Kay and Gary Barlow and is out now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a a small change in overyourhead from today. It's very small change in fact. It's a new little icon in the address bar, to whit, the favicon . It should automagically turn up in favourites etc. Well, that's the theory.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sympathy For The Level...

On one level I'm sympathetic to charities that have lost money due to banking crisis. Of course I am. But on another level why did they have so much money in a bank account in the first place? Shouldn't they have spent it on their cause already?

I won't name names, but certain AIDS/HIV charities that I know of have huge bank balances. Can it be legal to hold on to donations and not spend them?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Motown At Fifty...

On 12th January 2009 Motown will be fifty years old. The current owners of Motown (Universal) are releasing an album in December of Motown's 50 favourite tracks. You can vote for your favourites to be included at http://www.pollthepeople.com/motown50.

For my vote anything by Stevie Wonder please, anything from Motown's disco era (especially Diana Ross's Love Hangover) and for cheese Charlene's I've Never Been To Me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Beauty and the B...Roger

Last Friday Roger and I went to High Wycombe (of all places) to see what has now become, in some respects, "our musical": the Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Needless to say we loved it; the front projection was new (and worked really well), the orchestra was fantastic and the cast were all excellent.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Victor Spinetti...

Last night Ian treated me to a night at the Bloomsbury Theatre to see wit and raconteur Victor Spinetti. Half-Welsh, half-Italian Spinetti is touring with his A Very Private Diary - Revisted show in which he recounts tales of the great, the good and the not so good. As it says on his web site, his charmed life has brought him close to legends of stage and screen. His intimate, revealing and hilarious stories include Marlene Dietrich, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Sir John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, and of course, The Beatles. Spinetti has appeared in over thirty films including three with The Beatles; A Hard Day’s Night, Help and Magical Mystery Tour.

As he acknowledged early on in the show, he has made naming-dropping into an act form. But we sort of love him for it. And polished over four decades, each anecdote is a gem.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal...

Oh heavens. Paul and I seem to jinx it when we travel to watch away games.The Gunners' shock loss to Hull last weekend was supposedly out of our system after we thrashed Porto in midweek. But sadly that was not to be. "It is the second consecutive weekend that Arsenal have failed to win and claim the top spot in the Premier League - and there must now be huge concerns about their title aspirations" - got that right.

It was a fun journey though. Four hours up to Sunderland and four hours back to Kings Cross. The return train journey was especially fun. The whole coach was packed with singing Gooners and when we met up with a rugby team also on board the singing rose to an even higher volume. Most of the non-footie passengers moved to other quieter carriages (I'd have done the same!) when the dancing started. By the time we reached Stevenage the rugby team had all stripped naked and where doing some rugby dance in the aisles. I was going to take pictures - but thought better of it! Thank you National Express for not being too heavy handed with all the high jinx. I spoke to the train guard at the end of the journey and he just said, "it was all good natured, no one complained and we made a mint at the bar!" Good man.

More pictures of our trip here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Media Training Course Anyone?...

The following is an edited transcript of Newcastle interim manager Joe Kinnear's first official press conference last week:

JK Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror's north-east football writer]?

SB Me.

JK You're a cunt.

SB Thank you.

JK Which one is Hickman [Niall, football writer for the Express]? You are out of order. Absolutely fucking out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can fuck off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that fucking crap. No fucking way, lies. Fuck, you're saying I turned up and they [Newcastle's players] fucked off.

SB No Joe, have you read it, it doesn't actually say that. Have you read it?

More of that car crash press conference here...

Friday, October 03, 2008

BBC Transcript To Be Used In Wake Of Nuclear Attack...

Long before the threat of Global Warming we lived under the threat of a Nuclear Winter. The 1970s was all about how cold things would get if we were attacked by nuclear weapons from Russia. And good old Auntie Beeb had a broadcast ready to reassure us. Bless them.

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes. Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger. If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which followed a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors. Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long. Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don't waste it. Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep. If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The "all clear" message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary. Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the "all clear" on the sirens. Here are the main points again: Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply: it may have to last for 14 days or more. We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours' time. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.


Pano, David, Andy, Kev, Tony, Stuart and I went to see Eurobeat at the Novello Theatre last night. As Terry Wogan said on tape at the end of the show, "If you liked the show tell your friends. If you didn't like the show keep it to yourself... nobody likes a whinger".

So I'll take his advice and keep it to myself.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer...

I met Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday to chat about virtualisation (server, desktop and application) and online 'evolution'. Well, when I say 'met' - I was in a hall with hundreds of other people. Products discussed were Microsoft's new Hyper-V and new versions of Windows (desktop and 'cloud' versions).

Looks like Microsoft will be stripping it's desktop operating system Windows Vista v2 7 down quite a bit i.e. removing email, photo-editing and movie-making apps - instead making these part of Windows Live and available as downloadable options. And soft announcing a new online version of Windows with one-click application execution, software as a service, yah-dee yah-dee yah.

So basically they are going after VMware and Google. They have a lot of ground to make up. But then they did take on IBM, Lotus, Novell...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Arsenal 4-0 FC Porto...

What a relief. After the miserable game on Saturday we needed a win. And boy did we get one. Paul and I were singing and dancing most of the match (no really). Porto weren't really up to much - certainly not what they used to be so it was a comfortably win to get our home campaign started in Champions League Group G.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Arsenal 1-2 Hull...

Oh, the shame of it. The result says it all. Recently promoted Hull ran rings round us. We simply didn't deserve to win. What a contrast to last Tuesday.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Killers - Human...

The Killers new single Human is simply wonderful. "Like Johnny Cash meets the Pet Shop Boys", as they put it. Listen here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Piece Of Cake...

So, yes, I'll admit it. I'm 47 today. 47 years of fun and frolics. 47 years collecting toys. 47 years of playing games. And I have to say I really don't fell much different now than when I was 7, 17, 27 or 37. I have the same basic needs - to love, to learn, to be loved, to have fun and to do new stuff.

And to that end I did something last night I'd never done before. Something I'd never thought I would ever do. I baked a cake. My first one. A lemon drizzle cake it was. And it was great fun. I got the recipe from Stuart; 6oz flour, 6 oz sugar, 6oz butter, three eggs and a lemon.

But me being me I didn't make life easy for myself. I didn't have any kitchen scales. Hmm. What to do? Well I used Google on my iPhone to find out the density of self-raising flour, used the iPhone app "Units" to convert 6oz into grams and then via the density calculated the volume of flour I needed. I then used my thumb knuckle (which is about 1" = 2.54 cm, right?) to measure the diameter of a coffee cup and calculated the cross-sectional area. Again using my thumb I worked out the height I'd need to fill the cup to with flour to get exactly 6oz required. I then repeated this calculation for the caster sugar. Then for the butter (which came in a 250g pack) I calculated the ratio to 250g of the weight of salted butter I needed (again using Google for the denisty) and measured the length of butter I needed to cut. The rest was a piece of cake.

And it turned out OK too. In fact I brought it into work this morning and it's almost gone already (the sign of a good cake?)

So there's a new feather in my cap. Perhaps for my birthday next year I'll ask for some kitchen scales though!


Do you see the number 47 crop up quite a lot in films and on TV? If so, you may have witnessed, or indeed be in on, the in-joke.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Triplets...

Last Friday Mark and I went over to see Sarah, Ben and the triplets. Dylan, Eve and Lola were in fine fettle - singing Bowie's Starman, playing ring a ring a roses and playing Gulliver (i.e. pinning me to the floor). Great to see everyone as ever. Few more snaps here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd...

Oh my giddy aunt. Sarah, Mike, Paul and I went to the game last night at the Emirates not really expecting much. It was the Carling Cup third round and we traditionally play our youngsters to give them some experience. It also gives them the chance to pop up on the radar for potential first team places in the Premiership or European games - a sort of chance at first blood if you like. And in this case Wenger was fielding the youngest Arsenal team ever.

Well, what a team he fielded. The goals came think and fast. Bendtner, Simpson and Wilshere were superb. And Vela got a hat trick. 6-0! We took them apart.

These were the eighteen players that Wenger was picking from to play. Many not old enough to drink!:
12. Carlos VELA (Age 19)
16. Aaron RAMSEY (Age 17)
17. Alex SONG (Age 21)
19. Jack WILSHERE (Age 16)
20. Johan DJOUROU (Age 21)
21. Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK) (Age 23)
24. Vito MANNONE (GK) (Age 20)
26. Nicklas BENDTNER (Age 20)
35. Francis COQUELIN (Age 17)
38. Jay EMMANUEL-THOMAS (Age 17)
40. Kieran GIBBS (Age 18)
41. Gavin HOYTE (Age 18)
42. Henri LANSBURY (Age 17)
43. Fran MERIDA (Age 18)
46. Abu OGOGO (Age 18)
47. Mark RANDALL (Age 18)
50. Jay SIMPSON (Age 19)
56. Emmanuel FRIMPONG (Age 16)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jane's Birthday...

Taking a break from Open House last Saturday Stu and I joined Sophie to help celebrate Jane's birthday.

We went to the White Hart first in Stokie and then once the evil drink had done it's work (i.e. before long) we moved on to Blush. A few pints later we had flowers in our hair. Tee hee. More pix of disgraceful behaviour here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No Respect...

Lack of Respect.

Open House 2008...

This weekend just gone was Open House in London. On Saturday we met up with Pano, Andy and Kev for a spot of pavement bashing. As often happens with Open House you don't quite make it into the buildings that you think you might - in our case Houses Of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, BBC Bush House, HM Treasury or 83 Calabria Road but you do find some hidden gems such as 26 Whitehall (former Admiralty Buildings), Banqueting House Whitehall, Horse Guards Whitehall and the sub-crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields. By mid afternoon to retired to The Cole Hole in the Strand for refreshments, not really making it on to anything else that day.

On Sunday we visited a rather charming Queen Anne house at 67 Grange Walk and then the IPC Media Blue Fin Building on Bankside.

We took quite a few snaps. See them here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey lady, you lady cursing at your life...

I've been to Georgia
I've been to California
I took the "hand" of a preacher man (well, he was a vicar in fact and it wasn't just his hand I took) and we made love in the sun (and also in the sea as it happens)
I've been to Nice (and got mugged outside a campsite)
I've been to (the Isle of) Greece (with a girlfriend first and later with a boyfriend - post outing)
I've sipped champagne on a yacht (many times, many places, darling - sailing around the seas of the British Virgin Islands being a particular favourite)
I've moved like Harlow (well I didn't wiggle quite as much as her) in Monte Carlo (backpacking as it happens)
I've showed 'em what I've got (way too many times to remember in way too many places)
I've been undressed by kings (well, I've been undressed *in* Kings, the now defunct tacky nightclub in the Canaries)
I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see (you'd better believe it, baby!)
I've indeed spent my life exploring subtle whoring (and sometimes not so subtle let's me honest)
I've even been to Paradise (and Heaven, Bang and Bolts)
And before you ask, yes, I've been to me too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Samsung Omnia (i900) Unboxing...

It's enough to make you want to buy one. If only unboxing all phones and indeed other gadgets where always this much fun.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Echo & The Bunnymen...

Last night Sarah, Ben, Simon, Bruce and I went to see Echo & The Bunnymen perform their classic album Ocean Rain at the Royal Albert Hall.

You may remember EATB from their early hits such The Back of Love and The Cutter or indeed what was for me their other most notable hit Bring On the Dancing Horses (although they did have quite a collection of other single releases).

The first half of the gig was a sort of greatest hits show which the packed auditorium simply lapped up. It was a sell-out show and everyone was singing along.

After the interval a full orchestra joined the boys on stage and the performance of Ocean Rain began. And what a fabulous album it is and a fabulous performance they gave of it. Standout songs were obviously the hits The Killing Moon, Silver and Seven Seas but for me the best song of the night was Ocean Rain itself. It was the song Sarah and Ben had at their wedding and the song Sarah would like to have played at her funeral. Quite wonderful.

EATB have now reformed properly and have a new album in the works The Fountain.

The rumoured support act was to be Scotland's very own Glasvegas but sadly they were a no-show.

Rick & Steve...

What: Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World
When: Wednesday 17th September
Time: 22:30 to 23:00 (30 minutes long)
Where: E4
Reviews: Luke warm
Watch it?: Set the PVR

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

French Alpine Property...

Looking to buy some French Alpine Property? Maybe you want a base for those skiing trips or a place to have a summer holiday. Well, look no further than www.frenchalpineproperty.com - a highly experienced international property agency focused on finding buyers the best French Alps property.

OK, time to declare a vested interest for this shameless plug. French Alpine Property is a company that my sister Joanna has set up with her friend Lee. I went to go and see them at their stand at the French Property Show last weekend and it all looks very swish. Good luck girls!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray...

Stu and I went with Ian and Terry to see Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray at the Sadler's Wells on Friday. Oh my God. What as amazing show? Sure it wasn't perfect but pretty damned near.

Based upon Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) this was a fantastical, sexually charged homoerotic romp that had the audience agog from start to finish.

Walthamstow born Matthew Bourne has been influenced in his recent New Adventures productions by both film and TV. So it was with Dorian Gray. There's bits of American Psycho and Velvet Goldmine in there was well as echos of The Line of Beauty. We were transported to the 1980s world of fashion, politics, money, drugs, sex and celebrity. It is here that the power of beauty is so potent. Beauty that opens doors, opens hearts and ultimately opens up the way to disaster.

The dancing was superb, the music was thrilling and the whole production just throbbed with energy.

And let's not ignore the fact that the men were gorgeous. Sexy as.

More production shots here.