Quote Of The Day

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

BBC Loves U2...

Can the BBC licence payer be expecting to share in some of the profits from U2's new LP? What with all this free, blanket, uncritical promotion they are receiving across all the BBC brands this last week; BBC1, BBC2, Radio 1, Radio 2, BBC News, news.bbc.co.uk etc. I do like U2 - or I did! The supersaturation by the BBC is making me review that.

I love the BBC - or more accurately, I love many of the programs they make. It's just that some of the current custodians of that wonderful organisation seem to like shooting themselves in the foot.

This isn't an issue of self-censorship or running scared of the The Daily Mail. It's just plainly a wrong call. How can wall-to-wall U2 promotion on a public service broadcaster such as the BBC not be seen as advertising?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mayflower…


On Sunday Andy and Kev came round to see Stu’s place and we headed off to the Mayflower pub on the Thames for a spot of posh Sunday lunch. The food was excellent, the wine flowed and we swapped stories, picked the boys’ brains about Cuba and general had a good old chin wag. Not wanting the afternoon to end we moved up river a bit to the Angel pub when we settled in for the rest of the afternoon and what turned out to be most of the night. Great views, great company and some filthy stories. A lovely day out. More snaps here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jonny’s 40th…

Stu, Jo and birthday boy JonnyLast Saturday Stu, Jo and I headed to Shepherd’s Bush to help Jonny celebrate his fortieth birthday. We had a rare old time – me being introduced to some of Stu's work colleagues and many of Jonny’s friends. This is one of the snaps I took and here are some others.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plague Over England…

Last Friday Stu and I ventured to the Duchess Theatre in London’s glitzy West End to see Plague Over England. Written by Evening Standard theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh, it tells the story of Sir John Gielgud’s arrest for importuning for immoral purposes (cottaging) back in 1953. Facing personal and professional ruin after the story is splashed across the national press the story wittily recounted by de Jongh explores the court case, the theatre-going public’s reaction, the institutional homophobia of the time, the occasional self-loathing of mid-century homosexuals and ultimately how Gay Lib affected the lives of all homosexuals twenty years later in 1973. It’s funny, sexy and well worth seeing. 4 stars.

Arsenal 1-0 Roma...

Paul and I watched a frustrating night of football at the Grove last night but also a rewarding one. We missed many, many chances - too many really, especially in the second half. But the result, coming from Robin van Persie's penalty in the first half, seemed appropriate. This was the first leg of our Champions League battle with Roma. Stadio Olimpico here we come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Injection Necessary...

I am now the owner of one matt white filling. I'm really happy it's all over. But I have to say, it wasn't such a big deal. I had butterflies in my stomach on the way to the dentist and was really very nervous sitting in the waiting room. But once I got in to the dentist's chair it was fine. She put my mind at rest and gave me the option of an injection to kill the pain or not. I decided against that. I didn't really want to have a numb mouth for three hours and I don't mind a little pain. So it was just me, the dentist and the drill. I watched her write NIN in my notes. "No Injection Necessary".

The dentist did say that if I started to feel any pain during the drilling I should raise my hand. I joked, "what? raise my hand as a fist and punch you in the face?" I laughed. She laughed. But not as convincingly as I did.

Five minutes later it was all over. I'd been drilled out, stuffed with some white stuff and had ultraviolet shone in my gob to make it harden. It took a few more sessions to file the filling down to the correct level though. But fifteen minutes after walking into the dentist's surgery I was walking out again. Job done.

And you know what? I might even go back for another check-up in six months. Heavens. That'd be *two* check-ups in thirty-one years. My mother will be pleased.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Now Spit!...

I'm doing something later today that I've never done before. Or to be more accurate I'm having something done to me that I've never had done to me before. I'm having my first filling. Yes, after forty-seven years I'm going under the dentist's drill. I really don't know what to expect either when I get there. People have such horror stories of going to dentists. But not me. I've been so rarely - only once in thirty-one years - I don't really have any deep rooted (fnah!) fears to draw on. I'm not exactly expecting fluffy pink cushions and a warm head rub but do you think it'll be like Steve Martin's sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello in Little Shop Of Horrors? I shall find out later this afternoon.

Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland...

What a crap match it was on Saturday. Sure it was great to witness Andrey Arshavin's debut - and don't get me wrong, he looks like a real star - but the game was frustrating in the extreme. We just couldn't score. The hopes of a Champions League place are fading fast.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Your Disco Needs Hula Hoops...

At Duckie on Saturday night was a fantastically camp hula hoop act. Here are the last few moments to give you a flavour.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pet Shop Boys at The Brits...

So it's congratulations to the Pet Shop Boys for their well deserved Outstanding Contribution To Music Award at The Brits. They played a 'Pet Shop Boys on 45' mix of Suburbia, Love etc., Left To My Own Devices, Always On My Mind, Go West, What Have I done To Deserve This? (with Lady Ga Ga), Domino Dancing, I'm With Stupid, Being Boring, It's A Sin (with Brendan Flowers), All Over The World and finally West End Girls (Lady Ga Ga and Brendon Flowers). Well done Boys.

And they are on tour (pre-sale here)!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When A Bird Breaks A Blade In A Jet Engine...

One of the many reasons I don't like flying; start jet engine, insert dead bird and stand well back.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff...

It was a rough night at the Grove last night for our FA Cup fourth-round replay. Not the football, mind you. That was fine. On the pitch Eduardo scored a couple just under a year since breaking his leg and Bendter and van Persie made the total four. So it was a convincing win against a rather crap Cardiff City.

No, the roughness was outside the ground. I counted eight police vans, six snarling police dogs with handlers, a circling helicopter and wave after wave of riot police. And that was just on my particular route away from the ground. Goodness only knows how many there were in all the other directions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Duckie @ Bexhill On Sea...

Last Friday Simon, Paul, Stuart and I went down to stay with Charlie in St Leonards on the south coast. Charlie had organised tickets for us to go to Duckie's 13th birthday bash at the De La Warr Building at Bexhill On Sea and was letting us stay. Charlie was a brilliant host - so much so that Stuart and I stayed on until the Sunday.

Duckie was great fun; six hours of Amy Lame, Miss High Kick, a fire eater, a local opera singer, dancers, a hula hooping sailor, the Readers Wives spinning the tunes and much else besides - all the usual nonsense that we know and love.

Below are some of the snaps I took from the weekend. You can see many more by clicking here.

Red hat Flowers
Dahling! Gilded cage Clean sheets

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spotify...

I love Spotify. It doesn't have the biggest range of music ever but it's still quite big. And it's free if you don't mind an advert every 30 mins or so. The sound quality is pretty good and it's very responsive. Faster than playing a locally stored track on iTunes I'd say. Great if you want to listen to that one track without actually buying it. Kind of like our own radio on last.fm.

Microsoft Tag...

So this is mobile tagging with Microsoft Tag. You take a picture with your iPhone say. It decodes the symbols and takes you to a URL. This tag take you to this site.

Here's the blurb: Microsoft Tag creates unlimited possibilities for making interactive communications an instant, entertaining part of life. They tranform physical media (print advertising, billboards,product packages, information signs, in-store merchandising, or even video images)—into live links for accessing information and entertainment online. With the Microsoft Tag application, just aim your camera phone at a Tag and instantly access mobile content, videos, music, contact information, maps, social networks, promotions, and more. Nothing to type, no browsers to launch!

Get it at http://gettag.mobi/.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Entertaining Mr Sloane...

Last night Stuart and I went to see Entertaining Mr Sloane at the Trafalgar Studios in London's glitzy Whitehall.

It starred Imelda Staunton as the sex starved sister Kath, Simon Paisley Day as the gay brother and Mathew Horne as the eponymous bisexual anti-hero Mr Sloane.

Originally staged way back in 1964, Joe Orton’s wickedly biting comedy sparked controversy at the time with its mischievous peep at the hypocrisy behind the new permissive society of the 1960’s and the British fascination with sex. And it hasn't lost any of it's comic value. We laughed like drains.

Horne was a tad miscast although the savagely sexual Staunton and 'liberal' Day were excellent.

Best line: "It's what is called a dilemma, boy", Ed explains, "and you are on the horns of it."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

To keep anonymous happy...

1. New PSB single "Love etc." is 'quite good' to quote a Popjustice phrase.
2. New Torchwood trailer less good.
3. Girls Aloud song is tepid at best.

Star Trek Communicator...

Trekkies, to the bridge! Gadgeteers Dream Cheeky have come up with a VoIP/Skype speakerphone that looks exactly like a Star Trek Communicator.

It uses Bluetooth and will be launched to coincide with the arrival of the new movie.

I want one!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Just Can't Get Enough...

British-Irish girl group The Saturdays will be releasing a cover of Just Can't Get Enough (the Depeche Mode song written by Vince Clarke) as their fourth single. It will be the official single for Comic Relief 2009, with the proceeds being donated to the charity.

Sunset Boulevard...

Last night Stu and I went to see the Watermill Theatre's diminuitive production of Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy Theatre in London glitzy West End.

Sunset Boulevard is a musical with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on the 1950 Sunset Boulevard film, the plot revolves around Norma Desmond, a faded star of the silent screen era, living in the past in her decaying mansion on the fabled Los Angeles street. When young screenwriter Joe Gillis accidentally crosses her path, she sees in him an opportunity to make her comeback to the big screen. Romance and tragedy follow.

The production uses a brilliant cast who simutaneously act, play musical instruments, sing and dance. An amazing feat which is carried off with much skill. The Olivier Award nods are well deserved.

Last night Norma was played by Kathryn Evans (wife of Doctor Who and Blue Peter's Peter Purvis) and she was a revelation. Dramatic, musical and with the grace of a ballerina she pretty much stole every scene she was in.

If you get a chance, go see.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life...

And on the eighth day, God created Charles Darwin, and behold, he was good. And God said, go forth Charles, be fruitful and multiply, and study the beasts of the earth and the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air. So Charles went forth, was fruitful and multiplied. And he studied the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And then, when his work was done, he returned to his creator ... and only went and killed him. Patricide, I believe it's called.
[Sam Wollaston : Last Night's TV: The Guardian]

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Andrei Arshavin...

Andrei Arshavin, or Arse Shovin' as no doubt he will be nicknamed, has finally joined the Gunners.

He'll be sporting the old 23 shirt previously worn by Sol Campbell. Good luck, mate-ski.

We have high expectations of you.

I wonder if Wenger will play you against the Spuds on Sunday or whether he'll wait until Cardiff on Monday week...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow...


Arsenal 0-0 West Ham...

Paul and I froze our nuts off at The Grove on Saturday afternoon. It was a dire performance. Our boys had most of the possession but in the end couldn't make it count. So our Champions League hopes suffered yet another dent.