Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day)...

Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) is celebrated on 30th April in Amsterdam. Actually the birthday of Juliana, mother of the current Queen Beatrix – Queen’s Day is an uproarious madhouse and highlight of the annual calendar. A ‘free market’ is held throughout the city, meaning anyone can sell anything they like, and the vast terrain of pavements (staked out by vendors well ahead of time) becomes a comical open-air showroom of items ranging from precious heirlooms to outright junk. Most people grab their orange wig and tights and hang on tight for musical revelry, rivers of beer and about two million happy visitors. You have to walk everywhere too, as the streets are too packed for the buses and trams to run.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Amsterdam Bound...

We're off with the gang to Amsterdam today for five days. We're going partly to celebrate Tim and Andy's birthday (which is today - Happy Birthday boys!), partly to celebrate the Dutch Queen Mother's birthday tomorrow (Queen's Day) and partly to just have a good time. I'm really looking forward to it as I've not been to Amsterdam for a year or two now.

I used to go there a lot actually. We had quite a few friends there so there was always somewhere to stay and also I had a man there for a while. Which is reason enough to go I guess. He was (is?) an airport security guy.

Thinking about it I've had some wild times in Amsterdam over the years - parties, clubs and just hanging out in bars and coffee shops. I love that city. Small but perfectly formed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Weekend...

At primary school on Monday mornings we used to have to sit at our little desks and write a tale of what we'd done over the previous weekend. It was called 'composition class' and the piece was always called the same thing; 'My Weekend'.

Friday evening: Out for drinks with Stu and his wheelchair chums in Warwick Avenue - nice guys, nice bar, nice time
Friday later on: Shake Your Tail Feather - Darren's monthly night just gets busier and busier. Great fun.
Friday still later on: Tonker - bumped into Dilwyn which is always a pleasure. Otherwise the club was a yawn.

Saturday afternoon: Duchess Of Kent in Liverpool Road for beers with Paul, Ali and Tom - they need to sort that smokey barbeque out though (cough, cough)
Saturday early evening: Arsenal vs Man City at the Emirates - we drew 0-0 but laughed and teased Adebayor a lot. Tee hee.
Saturday later evening: South Bank for eats at Las Iguanas and then to BFI for beers with Kerry, Shei and Ange - love them Essex girls

Sunday afternoon: Pub lunch with Andy, Kev, Darren and Stu - The Alwyne Castle; slow service but nice food
Sunday late afternoon: Ten Plagues a work-in-progress at The Royal Court with Paul, David, Joao and Darren - dressed in black Marc Almond et al were singing about the great plague. Needs more work done on it as was a bit boring. Marc's comic turn singing The Wig being the high point though.
Sunday evening: Back to the pub with Andy, Kev and Stu - the Hen and Chickens is fast becoming my favourite boozer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Egyptian Tickets...

Here are some of the tickets we got for various sights on our recent trip travelling through Egypt.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

McAfee Screws Many of the World's Computers (and Itself)...

Ask most IT admins, computer technicians or power users which virus programs you should avoid, and the big two retail boxed options - Norton and McAfee - will usually be the first two words out of their mouths. In the enterprise, however, the situation is very different. Symantec and McAfee still have pretty strong reputations and a loyal customer base. Or they did.

In McAfee's case that reputation took a pretty big hit yesterday thanks to a major false positive. Their latest updated .dat file wrongly placed svchost.exe in the crosshairs and pulled the trigger rendering tens of thousands of corporate machines dead in the water.

Yes, McAfee has released a fix but it's one that has be applied hands-on at each affected computer. OK, only Windows XP computers seem to be affected but that still a hell of a lot of computers. That's going to create serious pains-in-the-ass for loads of admins and technicians around the globe and pissed off admins are never averse to switching software when it decides to create a titanic load of extra work for them.

So it's bye, bye McAfee. You won't be missed.

Fix here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Little Fun With An Office Paper Shredder...

"A little fun with an office paper shredder." Classic prank of the Candid Camera variety, making it look like people's letters are getting destroyed as they post them. Nice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tim and Andy's BBQ...

Last Saturday afternoon Tim and Andy invited the gang round for a BBQ in their lovely garden. We ate, we drank, we laughed. Nice to see the gang; Tim, Andy, Mark, Darren, Dean, Ed, Stu and me all having fun.
2010 Apr Tim and Andy BBQ montage
2010 Apr Tim and Andy BBQ 038

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's Your Pet Hate?...

Someone asked me the other day; "What's your pet hate?"

I said, "It doesn't really like things shoved up its arse."

Boom, boom.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Laurie Anderson - Delusion...

Laurie Anderson is in London this week for a four-night residency at the Barbican Theatre, where she is performing her latest piece, Delusion.

The show is an intimate, constantly evolving live show using multimedia to tell stories. The idea for the show started out as twenty linked stories but then developed into a play for two people which then iself turned into a picture show and then on to being a performance.

It's a performance. Art. Performance art.

Delusion is a hybrid.

Delusion is sad.

The lights come up on two white screens, one like an open book, the other resembling an upturned bed; on both, flashlit video images of rumpled sheets are being shown.

A bright, pulsing jewel, part heart, part diamond.

Leaves spiraling. Autumnal oak leaves buffeted by a storm.

On a purely sensual level, Delusion ranks with Anderson’s best.

It's a dream-like world.

Stories, poetic anecdotes, observations and meditations.

A camera mounted on Anderson’s microphone transmits two-storey-high head shots of the artist’s craggy visage while slanting strokes of light become an effective rainstorm.

Politicans debate.

John Kerry was asked "Do you love your wife?" He paused and then said, "I married 'up'". Ouch. Then he said "My mother said... On her death bed.... 'Integrity, integrity, integrity'". Needless to say, he lost the election.



Part Swedish / Part Irish.

Haunting shrieks, folk-like drones.

Sensational visuals racing across the screens.

The idiot and the odyssey.

A dream sequence in which Anderson gives birth to her beloved dog, Lolabelle, are weird and hilarious and indeed weirdly hilarious.

Text-flecked animated chalkboard drawings of faces and dogs and little houses flow into surreal celluloid dream sequences that in turn become spooky faux graveside tableaux.

Women's second names... They don't have their own; given one by their father, given one by their husbands. Their mothers' name is lost. Yet secret. A secret name. What's is your mother's maiden name? The key to unlock your identity.

Think about your mother. Buddhists think about their mothers. They think about that time when your mother loves you completely. Unreservedly. Now expand that feeling to fill your time. Your mother loves unreservedly all the time.

Dead mother.

Did you ever love me?

Leaves spiraling round a grave.

I cried.

Delusion is smart, funny, emotionally engaging, and flat-out beautiful. In short, everything you’d expect from an artist of Anderson’s stature and reputation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

HD or not HD...

Have you got an High-Definition (HD) TV? Are you watching HD programs though? According to the latest research from the British Video Association (BVA) more than 6 million Britons think that they are already watching HDTV, completely unaware that they are not connected to the right set-top boxes or Blu-ray disc players that unlock the potential of their brand new HDTVs.

In a study of nearly 10,000 (9,500) respondents commissioned by the BVA, many viewers – over 55% of UK households - revealed that they have spent hundreds or even thousands of pounds on the latest High-Definition TV technology without seemingly having appreciated the experience high definition screens are meant to deliver, even though, in the vast majority of cases, the extra equipment they need is relatively cheap and widely available.

The most surprising finding is that 6.5 million people (1 in 10 of the population) think they are watching high definition content when actually they are not - they are watching Standard Definition (SD). In the survey 28% of people think they can watch movies in high definition with a DVD player when actually a Blu-ray player or a high definition set-top box is needed to do so, and a further 27% believe that an HDTV shows everything in high definition when in fact they need a Blu-ray player to actually view content in the best possible quality.

Mind you, I'm not sure I can always tell the difference between HD and SD. Maybe HD stands for Hardly Different.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Marc Almond News...

The first of a series of Marc Almond expanded re-issue CD's will be released
on Monday 12 April 2010 through Cherry Red Records. Open All Night was
originally released in 1999 to much acclaim and it's original and evocative
sound mixes elements of R and B, Gospel, Latin, Trip-Hop and Electronica.
It also contains duets with Siouxsie Sioux and former Sneaker Pimps vocalist
Kelly Ally.

The re-issue comes with an 18-track bonus disc, curated by Marc Almond
himself, of original song demos, film soundtrack rarities and alternative
versions of tracks recorded at the time of the 1999 Open All Night Sessions.
See the News page on the website for the full tracklisting.

Mojo Honours List 2010 present Marc Almond live at the Jazz Cafe in Camden
Town, London on Wednesday 7 June as part of Mojo Magazine's "Mojo
Presents..." concert series. Tickets are available from 9am Monday 12 April
from www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/1F004488E6227A74 and are extremely

Sky's 3D TV Service...

Sky's 3D TV service has gone live, broadcasting live Premier League games. But in which pubs can you watch the matches? Sky has put its promised pub search site on line now, allowing footie fans to key in their post codes and get a list of - hopefully - nearby pubs they can visit to view the action.


My nearest ones are frighteningly near; The Junction in Corsica Street and Slug and Lettuce on Islington Green.

So yesterday Mark and I went along to The Junction to try it out. Manchester United were playing Blackburn. It cost £5 to rent the glasses (all goes to charity apparently) and £5 deposit. The image was OK-ish I suppose. A bit like looking out of as smallish window at the touchline. It gave me a headache after a while so I don't think we'll be rushing back any time soon.

Friday, April 09, 2010

RIP Malcolm McLaren...

Malcolm McLaren died yesterday. His web site says "Malcolm will return shortly..." Spooky.

Friday, April 02, 2010


The first proper date Stu and I went on was to see a revival of the 1967 hippy musical Hair at the Gate Theatre in 2005. Twelve years earlier than that coincidentally we'd both seen the same 1993 production at The Old Vic starring Sinitta and John Barrowman. We are obviously both big fans.

So it was with a light heart we went to the opening night of the new production at The Gieldgud last night. Made all the lighter knowing that the entire New York cast had relocated to London for the show.

Hair is undoubtabably a great musical. A rock musical no less. The first of its kind. It explores dramatic themes throughout, most of which are displayed right there on stage; swearing, drug use, overt sexuality, anti-war, anti-racism and nudity. What's not to like?

The songs are great too; Aquarius, Donna, Sodomy, Ain't Got No, Hair, Be-In (Hare Krishna), Good Morning Starshine and of course the seminal Let the Sun Shine In.

This new production did the the material justice. It was active, energetic and enthusiastic. Simply staged it allowed the great singing to come to the fore. The audience were involved from start to finish being encouraged to join in as the action on the stage bled into the auitorium. Climbing over the seating the cast sang, danced, handed out posters and passed round flowers. By the finale the audience were so involved they flooded onto the stage to join in the fun.

Great show. We're going again.

Thursday, April 01, 2010