Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Electric Picnic...

The flights from Spain went fairly smoothly. The Dublin weather that
greeted us was very warm - unlike the chill we felt when our airport
taxi driver started on his xenophobic rant. If only we'd had the
courage to not tip him.

Staying at the Dylan Hotel again, we had easy access to Temple Bar so
it seemed rude to not pop into out for a beer last night. I do love
Dublin. Such a friendly place (certain taxi drivers aside).

This morning we're hiring a car for three days so we're free to drive
out to the Electric Picnic festival - it should be about an hour and a
half from Dunlin (festival traffic permitting). We'll be staying at an
organic farm in Coolnowle so no tents for us. Apparently it's muddy as
he'll so we'll be buying welly boots en route.

As our objectioable cabby commented yesterday, "sounds like shit and
bollocks in a field to me."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Transit...

Today we're off to Ireland for the second leg of our European jaunt.
We're flying back to Gatwick first and then taking another plane on to
Dublin. Quite why I organized two flights rather than one is frankly
beyond me though.

Our last night in Sitges was fun (hello Ian, hello Simon) and all the
boys gave us a good send off. Maybe the slight fuzziness I feel today
will help me relax.

Adiós Sitges.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Open...

Stu and I are really having a fab time here in Sitges. Nice to have
Andy and Kevin and Andy and Tim and David and Marcus and Pano and
Mikey and (as I've just discovered) another Marcus with us here too.

It's our last night so Parrots, El Horno and then Argentinian steaks
are ahead of us.

Behind us is last night however. I must say we did have fun bar
hopping. We're a little worse for wear though. It is important to be
open about these things.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Church beach, factor 30, sandals...

It's been a busy couple of days here, dear reader. What with the
endless fun tantalisingly just beyond the fingerstips, the promise of
a better time to be had just around the corner. It's been hard to know
which way to turn at times.

Pertpetual tireness is a necessary evil of beach holidays of course so
it is with a slightly heavy sigh I launch myself afresh this morning -
the product of this merry cycle of too late to bed, too early to rise,
under sleeping and over tiredness.

At the breakfast bar it seems like it's all decisions, decisions,
decisions. Which beach should we go to today? Factor 15 or factor 30?
Sandals or trainers?

After the second bitter coffee the answers to these questions flow
slightly more easily though. The day is looking slightly more bearable
now caffeine has kicked in. The smile is reapplied and it's off the
face the world one more time.

So it's church beach, factor 30, sandals. It's a tough life.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spectacular, spectacular...

We arrived safe and sound in Sitges. Greeting us was probably the most
spectacular firework display I had ever seen. The local patron Saint
was having a party. On the Sunday the festivities continued with yet
more fireworks - this time aimed fairly and squarely at the watching
crowds. Health and safety anyone?

Today we sat on the beach rather than by the pool. Clouds soon drove
us to the nearest bar.

Then it was down to the usual round of sun, beer, snooze, beer, food
and more beer (repeat until holiday ends).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Paul Cézanne...

Taking a break from holiday packing, yesterday afternoon I went with my Mum, Dad and niece Charlotte to The Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House to see the special Paul Cézanne exhibition.

As it says in the blurb, it is "a small gallery that has one of the world's finest collections of Impressionist paintings." And I can't argue with that. For me the high point of the Cézanne was The Card Players.

We also stole a look at some of the other gems in the gallery. Of note were; Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère, one of the two versions of Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe, Van Gogh's Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear and Gaugin's Nevermore.

Here are some snaps I took.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sun, sea, sand and Sex Pistols....

Tomorrow Stu and I are off for a double-ended holiday to Europe. Firstly we are off to join the boys in Sitges for five days to enjoy a bit of sun, sea and sand. And then next Thursday, after we're returning briefly to Gatwick, we're heading to Ireland for five days. First staying in Dublin for the night and then penetrating deeper into the countryside for the music festival Electric Picnic where the headliners are the Sex Pistols. Really looking forward to it.

There is a slight dark cloud on the near horizon though. It may be a full twenty-four hours before our first flight but I'm bricking it already - perhaps for obvious reasons.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Nominees...

Tonight at on FX at 10:30pm we meet Daniel Sims, Ja'mie King, Pat Mullins, Phil Olivetti and Ricky Wong; The Nominees.

In it's native Australia it was called We Can Be Heroes: Finding The Australian of the Year but here it's called The Nominees. It's an excruciating comedy starring and produced by the wonderful Chris Lilley introducing us to five afore mentioned nominees, five unique Australians, who have each made a large achievement and been nominated by friends and family for the Australian of the Year award.

It's not quite as good as Lilley's later Summer Heights High but in the same vein and well worth sticking with.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"I am so f***ing happy"...

Poor old Auntie Beeb. Expressing her delight at clinching a bronze in the dramatic windsurfing competition in Qingdao, British Olympic medalist Bryony Shaw told the nation "I am so f***ing happy" on live TV. Quick apologies from BBC.

Techy Talk...

The unpopularity of Microsoft Windows Vista is rife. Apparently over a third of Vista PCs have been 'downgraded' to Microsoft Windows XP. Looks like they'll have to wait for Windows 7 for their next stab at hearts and minds. In the meantime my mind (if not exactly my heart) is wandering over to Ubuntu.

Shame there's no Windows Server 7 due either but simply a Windows Server 2008 R2. Hey ho.

Some good news for the Microsoft users amongst us though. They are relaxing restrictions on moving virtualizing Microsoft server applications too. About ruddy time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Squaring numbers...

What with Gary Glitter out of prison and probably on his way back to Blighty it reminds me of an old gag: squaring numbers is like sex. If they're under sixteen, just do them in your head.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Darren's Birthday...

On Saturday Stu and I joined the marvelous Mark, ravishing Rachael, comely Chris, handsome Hudd, perfect Patrice, equally comely Christopher to help celebrate goregous Darrens's birthday. Great fun had by all. More snaps here.

Arsenal 1-0 West Brom...

Arsenal kicked off the new Premier League season with a win over West Brom as Samir Nasri scored on his debut. Good start but not decisive.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today...

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is one of my favourite albums of all time. So it is with some excitement that this Monday sees the release of David Byrne and Brian Eno's new project Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. There is a review of it in today's Guardian. And here's what it says on their web site:
Brian Eno and I recently finished our first collaboration in about 30 years. For the most part, Brian did the music and I wrote some tunes, words and sang. It's familiar but completely new as well. We're pretty excited. The name of the new record is Everything That Happens Will Happen Today and the music will be available on this Web site on August 18th, free for streaming and available for purchase as both a download and in physical formats. In September I will begin a tour, on which I will be playing music from the new album as well as music from our previous collaborations - 3 Talking Heads albums, Bush of Ghosts, etc. Click the Tour tab above for dates and venues. If you'd like to be updated as this story unfolds, and get a free download of "Strange Overtones", one of the songs on the album, please add your email address via the box below (we will not contact you for any reason other than to tell you about this David Byrne and Brian Eno project and the tour and we promise not to give or sell your contact to anyone else or even to the government). Come back on August 18th to check out the record.
More news to come.
David Byrne
Midtown

Arsenal's New Season...

It's the usual mixture of excitement and nervousness that we enter the new Premiership season. Will 2008/2009 be our year? Things kick off tomorrow with West Brom at home for a lunchtime game (thanks Sky).

I pretty much agree with this guy's thoughts on where we are as a team. I just hope we manage to pull something out of the hat for our midfield which is looking a bit ropey from where I'm sitting.

The game on Wednesday against FC Twente didn't really bode well either - even though we got a 0-2 victory that stands us in really good stead for qualifying for the Champions League. The second leg of that tie is at home on Wednesday week. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Colour is Electricity?...



On the pavements near where I live are hundreds of brightly coloured markings. Above is a snap I took of those right outside my place.

The pavement slabs are about to be replaced and so a guy from the council has been around with a weird metal detector/paint dauber marking the slabs in different colours identifying where all the under-pavement pipes lie so the layers don't drill into one of the pipes. What is interesting me was what colours means what?

Green
White
Red
Yellow
Blue

I'm guessing each colour represent one utility; gas, water, sewage, electricity? cable TV? telephone? Anyone know which colour actually represents? I think blue means water.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

The (not so) Wonderful Wizard Of Oz...

Well what a load of crap that was. Three hours of my life I'd like back please.

It was at times; boring, frustrating, twee, badly acted, cheaply realised and a waste of effort. We just didn't care about anyone on stage. Even the 'flying' monkeys looked embarrassed.

With such a strong identity as The Wizard Of Oz with its Dorothy, Tin man, Scarecrow, cowardly Lion, Wicked Witches and ruby slippers it couldn't fail, right?

I chiefly blame the piss-poor production values for the awfulness of it all. A twister as a spinning graphic, anyone? An Emerald City as a crude squiggle on a projector screen? I don't think so.

All involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

The best thing in it (which isn't saying much) was Toto. But small wonder the dog playing him was so fat. They had to bribe him with food to do every little thing so he all but waddled. Apparently they rotate the dogs so by October they'll be four fat dogs looking for gainfully employment.

We should have walked out along with all the other people at the interval but, no, we stuck it out. At £50 a ticket (plus booking fee) we felt it couldn't get any worse. How wrong we were.

Dismay turned to derision in the second half as we either groaned or snorted at each ill-judged stumbling step down the increasingly pallor yellow brick road.

God, we were pleased when it finished (stopped?) The audience rose as one and scrambled for the nearest emergency exit like survivors from plane crash. If only we'd had oxygen masks dropping down it might have saved us from the stench coming from the stage.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Brighton Pride: The Details...

Brighton Pride was great fun. The hotel we stayed in, Square Brighton, was really cool - clean, stylist and comfortable - so we've booked for 2009 Pride already.

On the Friday night we met up with all the boys for a beer or three in the Amsterdam bar. We wanted a good night's sleep so we didn't stay out too late. Good intentions being as fleeting as will-o'-the-wisp we ended up sleeping in on Saturday morning anyway. We must have needed the sleep I guess.

It was drizzling with rain when we did eventually get up so we made a diversion to TK Maxx (my first time in one of those, honest guv) to buy a cheap water-resistant hoody which delayed us even more. When we did make it to the parade it was up to its normal high standard but seemed way shorter than in previous years. The rain did let up a little bit so we all trouped off to Preston Park to begin the festivities proper. For 'festivities' read 'drinking'.

As it turned out we spent most of the day at the Bear Bar chatting with all and sundry. We did do one quick saunter around the park to loo for Charlie on the Glug stand but failing in that mission simply bought overpriced burgers and chips and ended up having barbecue sauce rolling down my chin.

Despite putting in a good show Stu was feeling a little tired late afternoon so he went to have a lie down back in the room. I carried on at the park for a wee while longer - well, until we were swept out with the trash at just after 8 o'clock. Stu was happy to extend his nap to a full blown 'staying in' so I joined David and for a bit of bar-hopping in town - Dr Brighton's, Legends and The Star Inn - before turning in.

On Sunday we went over to see Dave, Hari and little Rudi in Hove. The rain threatened (and then delivered) so the Bulldog street party later that day was a bit of a wash out. We returned to the Star Inn for some sanctuary with the goregous Darren, the hunky Chris and the handsome Hudd.

Stu and I headed to the station for the trip home later Sunday evening a little bit worse for wear but having had a great weekend. Till next year!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Brighton Pride in Pictures...

We had a great time at Brighton Pride. Fuller story later but for now he's some of the snaps I took. More here.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Brighton Pride...

Stu and I are off to Brighton this weekend. It's Brighton Pride (or Pride in Brighton and Hove 2008 to give it it's proper name). It's always a giggle. It claims to be the "biggest (and best) Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trangender Pride Festival in the country" attracting more than 100,000 people. And who am I to contradict them?

We're getting the 18:17 Brighton train from Vauxhall tonight and staying at Square which gets good reviews. The parade itself starts tomorrow on the sea front near the Palace Pier on Maderia Drive at 11am sharp and then trails up to Preston Park for the festival at 2pm. I wonder if the cabaret tent will have Dame Edna as their climax or whether she's swanning up to Edinburgh early.

Last year we had great expectations of our stay in Brighton but the hotel we stayed at was an utter disaster (as my pix show and other people on Trip Advisor attest). Not that we didn't have fun eventually though.

Previous years have always been good at Brighton Pride - especially in the golden years 2004, 2005 and 2006.