Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Bath Bomb Experiment

On a routine Christmas shop around last week, I came across the shop Lush, which is like a hip version of The Body Shop. After being confronted by an assistant in purple leggings I suddenly realized it was too late to make an escape. I took care of what I actually went in for, which was a present that will remain nameless in case the recipient reads this (ah never mind they only sell one kind of thing in there anyway, it was girly bathroom stuff). What was a sense of amusement at first soon descended into a minor conflict when I first observed that one section of the shop looked like an assortment of goods made in a playgroup. She laughed, but inside she must have wanted to ram the chalky soaps down my throat. As she talked me through every product and it's aspects I was slowly worn down, my desire to make fun of each item soon became 'oh that's nice'. I was being brainwashed and there wasn't a tap in sight. Luckily I was not on my own, Rob was with me every step of the way, equally confused, but even quicker to cave in to the idea that these things would be useful for ourselves.

We eventually crumbled; after I'd got my gift sorted we came across what looked like a bar of soap with unpopped corn inside. Except it wasn't soap it was a massage bar, its oily texture is at first worked into the hands then rubbed onto aching muscles for soothing and fragrant relief.

'It's a bit gay though isn't it?' I whinged.
'I think it's endearing.' She lied.
'Don't get me wrong I'm a modern man, but it just seems a little too metrosexual for me.'
'If you buy two you get a free tin with it.'
'Free tin? Sure!' Said Rob.

So we plodded to the counter, with our bars and our free tin, which we had not decided custody for and after running the items through the till we also had a bath bomb thrown in (another item I'd ridiculed and found myself purchasing).

Fast forward a week and I'm running a bath for myself, I began the day by falling out of the shower vomiting and needed a horizontal alternative to get clean. A perfect excuse to use my bath bomb I thought. I sacrificed bubbles on the suspense of seeing what my Chocolate Santa Ballistic would do. As it plopped in the water began to fizz and it started to work it's way around the bath like a snail with an outboard motor on its back until it dissolved I was surprised at the end result. Had I not known what I had put in the bath I could have left the room and come back to assume a cat had pissed in there. It smelled a bit better than that of course but after an underwhelming five minute dunk I was bored and ready to get out.

What did I learn? Well the sales people at Lush are very convincing and despite my disappointment with the 'bomb' I've used my massage bar several times on my troublesome calf strain. But as a man who views shaving balm as a posh toiletry, I've ventured beyond what I thought was acceptable and have become hygienically confused. How I come out of this state remains to be seen but for now my shopping must be confined to the safety of tools and rawl plugs to preserve my masculinity for the time being.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

A Word on Woolworths

Should established high street tat-sellers Woolworths expire in the coming weeks I will bow my head in sadness. As a boy I remember when my Mum got a job in the cafe and after school going for a doughnut and a coke while I waited for her to finish her shift. It was a shop that had everything, sadly though it was always a place where everything was available elsewhere and better. Still she worked several years in that cafe until she moved to management level in another store and eventually when I reached sixteen I worked for two and a half years part-time at my local. The pay was crap but I look back on my time there fondly.

A routine shift would be to turn up late, have a quick drink, then have a natter with the boss (who was a Liverpool fan which meant he was very lenient with me), then stack a few shelves and wander around chatting to various people. It was a gloriously simple job and such was the size of the place you could just disappear for three hours and nobody would ask where you were. I wasn't a great employee but the only thing I ever stole was time and when I was actually working, I worked hard.

My work ethic has since improved since becoming management myself in another company and I can't say as I really left Woolies having learned or acquired anything useful. I'm sure the world will not miss Woolworths that much and as a consumer I won't either. But just because something's useless doesn't mean it should no longer exist. Just look at wasps, what do they do?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Since Jonathan Ross isn't doing much...

I've been a semi-busy bee over the Autumn, slaving away in the cinema watching and reviewing films. It's a part-time job and it doesn't pay at all (last months wage was -£24.98 including refreshments) but it's one I greatly enjoy, even if my level of skill is average at best.

Looking back at my earlier reviews of films they all seem to contain some type of reference or comparison with food and are about as structurally sound as a blancmange (see there I go again) but my thinking is the more reviews I write the better thought out they will become and also the more enjoyable they will be to read and then once I claim Jonathon Ross left me a voicemail of Russell Brand shagging my cat I shall weave my way into the Film 2009 hotseat where I'll get to show disdain for blockbusters and marvel over Cate Blanchett's blank face (she looks like the Oscar statue's mother)

Until then my website is now updated with several reviews of films that are either still just about out or have been and gone including:-





So that's my little bit of whoring done for the day, time for a nap...


Oh no wait just another slice of whore for you

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Being Monte Barrett & Ultimate Fighting

Your opponent is younger, faster, more popular, charismatic and has his home crowd behind him. Put yourself in boxer Monte Barrett's gloves for a second. Now as you enter the ring you'll have 50 Cent blaring, a look on your face like the ice cream had fallen off of your cone and a purposeful stride. But that alone is not enough to phase your rival and silence the fans. That's when Monte Barrett must've thought to himself 'I'm gonna try something..'

He tried to shrug it off like he meant to do it but we all know and he too knows that it didn't turn out like he imagined...

Staying on the subject of pay-per-view violence: UFC stands for ultimate fighting championship. Not boxing, fencing, kickboxing, no, ultimate fighting. It comes across like fighting you can't even imagine, the ring is shaped like an octagon and you can't really get out until you've had your face smashed in or smashed somebody elses. It's like putting two mice in the same cage and leaving one crumb. Add to that the mice don't like each other and only one gets to leave conscious. Let's cast an eye over last Saturday's heavyweight clash between Randy 'looks he's killed before' Couture and Brock 'dude, where's my neck?' Lesnar.

And yet there's something about UFC that just passes me by. You go through the hype and the suspense and 99 times out of 100 the end result looks like two brothers fighting over the remote control. They grapple and unconvincingly tap each other until one of them goes too far and clocks one properly at which point Mum comes in and sends him off to his room. I want UFC to represent something grander, something unruly where the gloves are on fire or they're both given a choice of kitchen utensils and we get to see eye gouging with salad tongs or a meat hammer to the balls. Even a spatula to the face would suffice. Call me inhumane if you like but from my perspective as a child that was what my imagination considered ultimate fighting to be. I don't hate the sport; I'd just prefer a name change that was a little less extreme and a little more realistic. Having said that why the fuck is boxing called boxing?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The hamster is dead, long live the gerbil!

Last week marked the sad and tragic passing of our house hamster Xabi Alonso. Named after Liverpool's midfield genius he was almost two years old and died of enforced hibernation. I remember the day we got him, he was actually an inconvenience to me at the time since I'd made plans with my then-girlfriend for the day and it was decided we had to go buy a pet instead. So she drove us there and I kept one eye on the animals and another on the clouds, as I prayed for sunshine for our romantic retreat. Rich liked this Syrian hamster and well I thought he was alright. Over time though I grew to love him, he was one of the guys, we would leave the TV on Babestation for him overnight and also he would climb around his cage like a furry Jackie Chan. His favourite things were cucumber and the female anatomy, but not the two combined...

So after that it was decided we should get a new pet. Personally I'm not a fan of replacement pets, I remember as a kid when my budgie died I was upset then the next day when we had two new budgies and I was like what the fuck? You don't rebound on a dead animal, but still we have a new pet and he's pretty cool. He's a gerbil we named Yayo and so far he's spent most of his time scared shitless in the corner of his cage, he'll take a week or two to settle in but he did seem to enjoy watching Demolition Man with Dave and I last night. But then who wouldn't? It's an action gem of the likes they just don't do make anymore.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


For those who watched British coverage of the US election hahaha loser! Why listen to us stuffy Brits prattling on when CNN had this.

I love American news, I especially love American sports news but whilst watching CNN last night/morning I was absorbed by baffling charts, projections, holograms and a man named Wolf Blitzer. I like how British news makes sense but then again I love how excited Americans are about everything, their enthusiasm and need to vociferously debate minute details and yell at each other in a tightly confined studio. It's great entertainment. I'm pleased Barack Obama won, what I find rare in him is that no matter if it's false or not he seems humble, somebody people can look up to. He has a face you could see on a dollar bill and a when he talks he uses a hand gesture like he's seasoning food. Whether his air cheffing will obstruct his politics remains to be seen but at least he isn't Bush.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bugger and Balls

I just turned on my TV, oh it's on 4music, what's this a show called freshly squeezed? I think it's time to rename the blog.

Any name suggestions are welcome....

So good news, my Mum is now settled in Malta and also harassing me on Facebook. Only kidding, I actually do miss her, she's the only other person I know who likes tennis.

I'm becoming increasingly concerned about an oncoming bout of writer's block. I can feel it seeping in, a lethargic attitude to typing and nothing but dead ends with all stories. I'm trying to create an editable story for a friend's art project and at first I was sold on what I was doing but with each attempt I get further away from what I'm striving for. Out of my three ideas, one is childish and daft, the second feels like a retread of other things I've written and the third is utterly depressing and not very adaptable. I'm determined to finish all three and give them over hat in hand, praying they're close to usable.

I didn't take better advantage of my last hot phase and now what were terrific ideas for stories are being mangled and cast adrift, I never know whether to just keep writing or just leave it all alone until I get the spark back. Personally I blame work, everyday feels like 9 hours of pulling my own teeth out and by the time I've got home all sense of creativity is just replaced by food and sleep. I'd give three fingers to live off writing and wake up far more talented, I'd sacrifice a fourth for a muffin.

There are positives though it must be said. My beloved Liverpool are top of the league (for now), I have a new haircut and have made some progress romantically. Add to that I picked up Timecop today on DVD for £1! Credit crunch on this...

Shit yes, but for a pound it sure beats a punch in the nuts...

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Leopold's Sunday Rage

Leopold: Turn on the television Mavis, it's almost time for Countryfile.
Mavis: Where's the remote?
Leopold: Oh I may have put it in that Roses tin.
Mavis: Why on earth did you do that?
Leopold: I have dementia.
Mavis: Oh yes.
TV: And now Countryfile, with Alan Carr.
Leopold: What in the blazes!
Mavis: Oh dear.
Leopold: But he's a woofter! Where's my letter opener, I want to write a letter.
Mavis: Wouldn't you rather have a pen dear?
Leopold: Yes one of those too.
Mavis: I'll put the kettle on...

Dear Mr. Carr

My wife and I have been avid followers of the programme Countryfile for many a year and my Sundays have been built upon the soothing voice of John Craven and the beautiful landscapes our great country has to offer. I cannot hide my disgust that you would sully my beloved programme with your mincing and flouncing about, like the son Eric Morecambe was too ashamed to admit to having.

Mavis: Here's your tea.
Leopold: Thank you dear, read it so far.
Mavis: Oh is that Alan Carr? He's nice.
Leopold: Have you no sense woman?! He has disgraced our favourite programme, have you been paying attention?
Mavis: Well what's wrong with him?
Leopold: Well for starters, he's a ruddy poof. A man with such an unstable grip on normality should not be allowed near animals or our beloved countryside. He has probably defiled it with his sick ways. Just look at him now, eyeing up those farmers, flitting his eyelids behind those utterly ridiculous glasses.
Mavis: I think he's talented.
Leopold: That pansy is bereft of talent, he is reaping the benefits of an overly politically correct society where hard working men like John Craven are cast aside in favour of the sexually deranged and drug addled youth of today.

Mr. Carr I am deeply troubled by your presence on Countryfile and I must warn you that unless you desist your attempts to pollute my program with your environmentally unfriendly homosexual emissions, my actions will be heightened to rather more extreme lengths. For the sake of preserving the waste of a life you are occupying, please heed my request.

Yours Sincerely
Leopold Whitford-Price

Leopold: There read that.
Mavis: Leopold! You can't say that! You can't threaten to kill him!
Leopold: I can say what I like, drastic measures are required for people like him.
TV: Join me again next week on Countryfile, when I'll be exploring Graham Norton's garden passage and we'll have music from the Scissor Sisters.
Leopold: Right that does it he's gone too far!
Mavis: What do you mean?
Leopold: Garden passage? Don't you see what he's trying to do? I've had it I'm going to kill him!
Mavis: Times have changed Leopold, we don't live in the same society anymore, you can't expect people to like the same things as before.
Leopold: You can't leave your back door open either, they're everywhere Mavis, sometimes at night I hear cooing from outside our window, savages they are...damned savages.
Mavis: I fear you've gone too far this time Leopold.
Leopold: Where are the car keys Mavis?
Mavis: You don't even know where he lives.
Leopold: I've got half a tank of petrol in that Laguna and I'll use every drop until he's smeared on my windscreen.
Mavis: Well remember we need some petrol in it, we have a neighbourhood watch meeting tomorrow.
Leopold: Oh yes, I suppose I better leave it then.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

If he's up there he must be pissed off...

My Sky box isn't fully working at the moment, so while waiting for a new viewing card it means that while channel hopping I have to look harder to find anything interesting, whilst trying to doze off in bed or in the mornings before work.

I've had to watch a lot more news, keep up to date with the financial crisis and the presidential race in America. The final debate was last night in New York and I still maintain that Obama could run over an orphan tomorrow and still be a better bet than McCain. It was interesting to see how Senator McCain seemed more preoccupied with bitching about his opponent than actually defending and contesting policies as Senator Obama was trying to do. McCain might as well have tickled him with a long feather across the desk, such was his attempt to rattle the democrat. Also the debate derailed often into an argument over 'Joe the Plumber' who apparently was more important than the economy, health care and education system put together. Joe the Plumber is a real guy, but the way they were talking about him was like he was a cartoon election mascot, each candidate championing the way they're going to make Joe's life better. He's a plumber, it's all downhill from there, or at best a career in porn.

So after that the hour was late but I stumbled on something far more disturbing than Joe the Plumber's pipe.

If you don't know of TV evangelist Peter Popoff, let me fill you in. He was a very popular faith healer during the 80's and came a cropper when he was exposed as a fraud (Who'd have thunk it!). He disappeared under the radar for a while, but he's back... and this time he's proposing the best thing since sliced bread...

Yep you got it, MAGIC BREAD! He claims God told him to make and prepare this bread, even seal it in those little plastic bags and heal the world. It's claimed to cure, HIV, dyslexicadgqh (that was insensitive of me) and also magically re-imburse people with huge cheques for thousands of dollars. Rev. Popoff is attempting to exploit people who have sunk so low that they see salvation in fucking bread, all because it's made to the recipe in Ezekial 4:9. What's next selling crosses, with Jesus on them? Oh wait...

But seriously, I'm technically a Christian since I was Christened, but despite only going to church when somebody dies or gets married I'd say I'll have less to answer for at the pearly gates than Peter will; should they even exist. I imagine getting into heaven to involve a lot of paperwork and an aptitude test, but that's another subject entirely. There's clearly a lot of money flying around in faith, it's probably one of the strongest financial institutions out there right now and if you're willing to stoop low enough to make a quick buck for yourself may I suggest Adam's Apples? Grown organically in the Garden of Eden and brought to you!
*Warning may cause encouragement from snakes and possible death, but it is part of your recommended 5 a day fruit and veg.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Footballer's Cookbook

Upon learning that a book has been released highlighting the favourite meals of top professional footballers, I felt the urge to investigate further.

Turns out UEFA have launched an incentive to get kids interested in 'proper food' to keep them healthy. Very good in principle. Then come the players and their recipes...

Lick your lips at:

Steven Gerrard's Aromatic Sea Bream
Thierry Henry's Rice Cubana
Fabio Cannavaro's Pasta a la Siciliana
Miroslav Klose's Power Omelette
Ruud Van Nistelrooy's Salmon Grilled With Cloves

So after analysing each meal I decided I would dust off my apron and cook one. Now as a Liverpool fan I wanted to be loyal to Steven Gerrard but frankly I'd rather eat nails than Sea Bream. So next best pick was the Rice Cubana.

Now this is not a recipe as such, more what I did and what relation it had to what it's supposed to be.

I stuck the kettle on and stood about for three minutes.
I then poured the water expertly into a saucepan.
Once the water boiled I then applied rice, some more rice and then a small dose of rice. It is commonly known among my friends that my portions of rice could feed a million men, or John Travolta.
Since the rice was boiling, I decided to chop up two bananas. Part of the recipe, trust me
Then I poured and slowly simmered some passata sauce (not pasta, I can spell) in a smaller saucepan.
The rice had five minutes left to go, so I poured (a lot of pouring involved in this meal) some olive oil into a frying pan and then cracked three eggs in there. I tried the first one-handed but cocked up so did the other two the easy way.
Then I chucked the chopped banana into a smaller frying pan and after a few minutes of that everything was done, although I should've grilled the banana it turned out.

Now observe the picture above and you'll see how it should look. Mine turned about a leeetle bit different. My overlarge portion of rice was stacked in the middle of the plate, with the passata blobbed on top. The banana, once wrestled from the sticky 'non-stick' pan was arranged around it, mushed and cut into small bits, unlike the nicely arked and grilled bananas above. To literally top it off the fried egg was intended to be positioned above the rice, but instead just slid down the mountain like a kid in a log flume.

How did it taste? Weird, just plain weird. Weird and plain. The banana looked to be the most worrying part but it was actually the best feature, providing a nice sweetener to the odd mix of passata and rice. The egg just felt out of place, like Jesus in Iceland.

I wouldn't recommend it personally. I like Thierry Henry but I'm never going to eat at his house.


Friday, 10 October 2008

Bingo Night Live.....LIVE!!!

Bear in mind this is a minute by minute account of me and my good friend Bob playing Bingo Night Live on ITV Right now! Well when this was typed.

The Jackpot is £60,000
The male presenter is very camp and lives local to us, In fact he once went into Comet and bought a universal remote from Bob. Not the remote from 'Click' but a bog standard one for all.
The female presenter looks like a crisp packet turned inside out.

First game
I failed to register my cards in time, since my internet crashed and I had to watch Russell Grant's sweaty pie face tell me how lucky my star sign was going to be as the seconds drifted away. Bob won nothing.

Second game
Won nothing but just found out that Bob and I are officially world record holders! Not for losing but for taking part in the worlds largest online bingo game. Better than a poke in the eye.

Crisp Packet Lady just did the worst Dalek impression I've ever heard. Camp guy just agreed midway through me typing it.

Third Game
Bob has a good feeling about the top card. I don't.
Desmond just won £25, will perhaps buy some new clippers for the barbershop (a joke for the four people in the world who watched Desmond's)
An immigrant just won £200. Bob is outraged, but he has 4 numbers on his top card at least.
The immigrant is up for the full house as well..... could be another £500
69 hehehehehe...
The immigrant lost, justice! Was that controversial? Probably yes

Adverts. Harry Hill is annoying, he also used to be a doctor. Coincidence?
I quote: 'It's an historic night for bingo!' Says Camp Guy.
Something tells me we won't look back on this the same way we did for the fall of the Berlin Wall, because David Hasselhoff was there, if he's not present it isn't history as far as I'm concerned.

Final Game
£60,000 is on the table. Bob fancies the bottom card... weirdo
I can't quite believe I've stayed up for this, I have to be up for work in 5 hours and 20 minutes..
69 again hehehehe
I still can't see what's attractive about Bob's bottom card, especially since it only has four numbers and we've almost finished. It is an alluring shade of blue though.
Sorry £60,500 is on the table... my bad.
'You can hear a pin drop in the studio. I can't describe the atmosphere.' Says Crisp Lady. You just did dear.
I GOT A LINE! BOOYAH! My prize? Nothing.
KABOOM lucky number 7 wins the jackpot for some bloke in Margate. Bastard.

Well I'll wake up still poor in the morning and tired too. Shiiiiiit.

Career Change

Man: I'm looking to broaden my horizons.

Careers Advisor: Ok what kind of professions were you looking at?

Man: Well I want to make a difference you know? Travel, get around, really make an impact on society.

Careers Advisor: Well have you considers politics or terrorism?

Man: Hmm terrorism.

Careers Advisor: Do you have any previous experience in terrorism?

Man: Erm no I can't say I do, although I once ripped the wing mirror off of a Renault Scenic, but it was mainly accidental.

CA: Ok, so what makes you interested in it?

Man: Well I'm just keeping my options open really, I want to live a diverse life, try many things and gain valuable life experience for my memoirs.

CA: Well it's not really something an agency like us would handle, if you like I could get you a number for an Islamic Extremist?

Man: Oh that's alright I'll just check the Yellow Pages.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Bed Full of Spanners

Went to bed last night, tired, dazed and with a faint urge to vomit. I got under the covers and watched some NFL. The somethings were playing the thingymabobs and big men were running two yards, getting clattered then chest bumping each other. If there's one thing I love about American Football it's the enthusiasm. Plus it highlights rugby as the bland homoerotic sport that it is. There I said it.

I was trying to get comfortable but kept having cold flushes on my body. I assumed it was just my man-flu playing tricks on me and eventually with the help of some soothing jazz music (stop laughing it helps me think ok?) I took a return trip to Nod.

I woke up this morning with the same sensation. I pulled back the covers to find a bed full of spanners. Another prank from my housemate Rich. Where would I be without him? Probably still asleep and warm.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

T' Blog

So I've just returned from the north, as my slightly disrespectful blog title hints at and it was certainly a multi-faceted adventure.

After an early morning glass of orange juice and portion of trifle my long suffering Bristol City supporting friend Darren picked me up for the journey to Sheffield.

it's a small world after all #1
Halfway up the M1 and who do we pass? Only my own house mate going to Newcastle! Bob waved and for a good twenty miles it became a 'oh hello again' as we kept overtaking each other and after a few times it became difficult to make up funny gestures.

It became slightly depressing as the further north we ventured the lower the temperature got. We got there and had plenty of time to bimble around and explore what Sheffield had to offer. Which was more than I thought. I was ambushed by a gang of attractive students who fleeced me for all my loose change for a cause I can't remember, I saw a fountain (see dork in picture), admired some abstract knitware in an art gallery and witnessed some free running. Going back to the fountain though, if there's one thing Sheffield seems to do better than anywhere it's water features. It's like they gave half of their council budget to Charlie Dimmock and let her run riot, there are fountains, streaming walls, balls and waterfalls everywhere. Also we saw a building shaped like a massive kettle and what looked like a thirty storey Borg cube parked in the city centre.

As for the football match I saw, Bristol City were thumped 3-0 by Sheffield United, thanks to three very simple goals from poorly defended corners. City would be a decent team if they could pass and defend set-pieces. United could and therefore won. See football isn't very complex when it comes down to it.

After the game I parted with Darren and made my way to the railway station to catch a train to Rotherham. Why were you on a train to Rotherham Phil? Well dear reader I was on said train so that I could see my Mum one last time before she heads out to Malta. The journey was made all the more interesting with the arrival of a gang of Doncaster fans, amongst the Sheffield Utd fans, not to mention the Grimsby fans on the train platform. As tensions rose fortunately my stop arrived.

it's a small world after all #2
Guess Sheffield Utd's shirt sponsor? www.visitmalta.com what are the odds.

So Mum met me at Rotherham station and I caught up with her and some of her boyfriend's family, who by the way are delightful people. My only quibble would be their obsession with You've Been Framed as though it was this brand new invention in comedy. Still it had been quite a few years since I'd last seen them and they were as accommodating and wonderful as ever.

The evening passed all too quickly and for the second time in a week I found myself saying goodbye to my Mother again the following morning. I've never really been very good at goodbyes, I always imagine some kind of big speech or something grand, but it's often an awkward hug and a wave instead. I made it onto the train with a minute to spare but without a seat.

Yet again I was spending two and a half hours sat on the floor opposite the toilet until my changeover at Coventry. Still the ride was highlighted by a nice exchange with a literature student, who I tried to maintain a conversation with on The Great Gatsby even though I'd never read it. My train reading was FHM since I'd forgotten to pack a book. It's amazing how they've removed most of the boobs from that magazine yet haven't even replaced them with decent articles. I still had my notepad though and as she marked out passages of her book for her coursework, I was scribbling out a childish story involving Bugs Bunny and a severed arm. My other company beside the toilet was a Chinese man with an Ipod and a young girl and her father who made his way through two cans of Skol.

One reflective moment was when the train stopped at Derby, a place of much significance to me from almost exactly a year ago. I thought back to my brief time there and how much had changed since. The closer to Coventry I got the more my legs cramped, worse still I had a small boy in first class blowing raspberries at me. What a waste of a good seat. At Coventry I discovered the maintenance on the lines meant that I had to finish my journey on a bus for another two hours to get home thoroughly shattered.

it's a small world after all #3
Isn't it weird when two people you know separately actually know each other from a different social circle? Yeah that happened. Not very interesting but still...

Friday, 3 October 2008

The Autocue (But not all of it)

Been working on a new story and here's a little excerpt from it


After sobbing uncontrollably to Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp Minor he feel asleep in the chair and the biscuit barrel rolled from his hand and onto the hardwood floor. The radio crackled and then music started to seduce the room, the light bulbs flickered and Alan came back to consciousness. A deep male voice emerged from the radio over a slow dark jazz beat.
‘Boy that could not have gone any worse could it? You should’ve drank those shots Alan, you snivelling prick.’ The voice oozed.
‘Listen very carefully to what I’m about to say Alan, do you have your wallet handy?’
‘Who do you bank with?’
‘Barclays, why?’
‘Aah goood, now get the wallet for me.’
The lights went out completely and the voice boomed ‘NOW!’ as Alan’s armchair shook. The lights came back on and Alan found himself with his wallet in his hand where the biscuit tin had been previously and his debit card sat on the armrest in a chip and pin machine.
‘What’s going on?’
‘Do you want to be a winner Alan?’
‘At what?’
‘At life Alan, do you want to win at life?’
‘How do you mean?’
The music stopped and the lights went out, the radio crackle halted and the television below it switched on, becoming the only light in the room. The screen showed a man sat behind a desk in an old fashioned office, his face looked heavily made up with flesh coloured paint. His suit was dark red and his hair jet black and short, swept across with pomade. He is looking down at something on the desk, then suddenly looks out to the viewer as if caught off guard.

That's all for now....

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Needy Optometrist

I booked my eye test the other day and they decided earlier on to call me to say how they were looking forward to my visit tomorrow. I'm sure it was just a pleasant reminder to not miss the appointment but still, I think they're coming on a bit strong for my liking. Right now I'm just not looking for a commitment. I'm sure they're sitting there waiting for the phone to ring counting down the hours until I arrive and when I get there we'll do the deed, I'll pay up and then there will be an awkward pause. The lady will gesture to the frames on display, maybe raise her eyebrows a little and then I'll have to let her down gently. All her good grace will disappear in a flash.
'You're just like all the rest Mr. Savory, shame on you!'
'Look I never promised you anything.'
'There's someone else isn't there? Vision Express? Specsavers?'
'No it's only ever been you, look I'm sorry ok, all I wanted was an eye test and well, I think we want different things.'
'Oh take your filthy prescription and get out!'

I know I'll feel shallow, crushing the soul of a caring creature but at the end of the day online is where the cheap glasses live. It's not the first time I've done this either, I once had an eye test at Vision Express and I looked at the frames out of sympathy then as the lady was popping out to the back for a brochure I bolted out of there. I know there are those who stay the course, they pay their money and they are faithful but me, I'm a free spirit, my eyes can't stay tied down to one opticians.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Phil 2.0

For the first time in ages I've had hefty doses of sleep for consecutive nights. I didn't know how fried I was before and now I feel like a new man. I read The Sunday Times cover to cover, watched travel programmes and whereas before I felt laboured while writing, I now feel re-energized and I'm pissing out ideas like a weak bladdered pensioner. What difference a weekend makes. Another significant factor was being able to spend quality time with my mother and some family. I may not be thrilled about her leaving the country but she made a fair point when she said that instead of seeing each other for a couple of hours every month, we'll see each other for a week or so every few months and better still with plenty of sun. So pros and cons I suppose...

I mourned the passing of Paul Newman who died of lung cancer aged 83. Great actor, maybe hung around too many barbecues...
Seriously though, the man was a true cinema great and humanitarian. He helped a lot of people in his life but never in a flashy way (*cough* Bono) and starred in some of my favourite films. The Hustler will always be my favourite performance of his by far.

As you can see I've rediscovered my zest for blogging too, before I couldn't blog to save my life. I literally could've been held at gunpoint and I wouldve just shrugged my shoulders and took one in the temple.

After many skint days it was nice to go out in town again and get leathered. Pulling in town is still a complete lottery. I'd say one in ten of the women I meet are remotely interesting and at best I'd get a number I'd never text or never get a reply from if she turned out to be really interesting. I'm just making an effort not to bother at all since three quarters of all my headaches are caused by the fairer sex. As we become increasingly dependent on social networks and technology it's tougher than ever to create romance from thin air in the way old people tell of meeting their spouses in a butchers or in a trench. I guess nowadays we're a hell of a lot fussier about who we like and we scrutinize on dress sense and how frequently they use 'lol' in texts.

I saw a wonderful piece of man-dancing that night which was like watching a fat George Michael bodypop. I'm not one to talk though since I'm not a very good dancer, but I'm crafty. Most of my dancing I would say is hand orientated, therefore in a crowd and from the waist up it looks like I'm busting some major moves when in fact my feet are virtually glued to the floor. It works to a point but alone I look like Douglas Bader on crack.

I was delving into a little politics the other day (as you do) and watching the first electoral debate between Obama and John McClane (actually McCain but McClane works far better for me) and it's interesting how even though surely a kettle up for Democrat could make sane people not vote Republican, Obama could not finish him off. Die Hard with a Republican is a heralded war hero and although as seemingly left wing as a Replublican can be, all the razzle dazzle will surely equate to more of the same humiliation poor yanks have had to suffer with eight years of Bush. Still as much as I like Obama and that he seems to represent change, I fear he may not have the hard edge to convince some that he's the right man for the job and once in the voting booth they'll think that Bruce Willis is running for office and they'll tick the wrong box.

In my own country it's far less clear cut. Gordon Brown looks like a half deflated ballon and has the charisma of a set of bagpipes. He also seems to have difficulty breathing and talking at the same time. His main opponent David Cameron looks far too young to run a country but his juvenility makes him very adept at turning Gordon Brown into the suited cabbage we all know and loathe. Shame Cameron seems to have no actual policy other than claiming to make pigs fly. Personally and I have no qualms disclosing this, but my first ever vote went to the Green Party purely because it was my favourite colour at the time. I still stck with them just out of curiosity of what they'd actually do if they won an election. They'd probably cock up big time, but by then I'll be on a plane to Fiji laughing as the country crumbles behind me. I'm starting to realize that running a country takes a bastard and Brown is a bigger bastard than Cameron will ever be. I still won't vote for either though.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Jesus Christ Monkey Balls

I have been neglectful of this blog of late, truth is I have had virtually nothing interesting to say for the best part of a month.

It's been frightening, I have gone through days were all I have done is either complain about my job to other people or complain about the price of bread, why the Sky box doesn't work and Scouting for Girls. I went almost a full month as well without going to the cinema, devoting my attentions instead to bowling. I have bowled at least once a week for a while now and I can now bowl left handed, at angles and with various finger combinations. Still doesn't mean I win though since my house mate Bob is a compact bowling freak who can chuck the ball at high speed and gets more strikes than the Writer's Guild of America (That joke was about five months too late). The taking part is there though I suppose...

However things are turning around, I plan on at least two cinema visits next week (reviews will follow) and also this week I went to the zoo! Well West Midlands Safari Park to be precise, which shits all over Woburn Safari Park because the animals are brilliant! The only downside is that there are no monkeys but still there were lions, camels, giraffes and tigers, all up close and easy to gawp at.

The 7th October will be a momentous day as my Mother departs for Malta to a new home away from her only son (cue violin). She'd been talking about it for a year or so but it's only actually hitting me now that she really is going and I'm sad about it and also slightly worried and hoping she knows what she's doing out there.

Women? I am currently single and I think this is down to two factors:
1) I've had plenty of opportunities but one by one I am sure that I am botching them all
2) This may be down to my renewed interest in Football Manager 2008

Football Manager 2008 is, for those who don't know, a football/saawker management simulator whereby you manage a team and generally look at spreadsheets and watch dots move about on a screen. If you have no interest in the sport it's the dullest thing imaginable, for those for love it, it's more addictive than crack. Hours can pass by, friends are ignored, calls unanswered, meals skipped, shaving is neglected. Before you know it you've become Robinson Crusoe, alone and bearded, seeking a league title and a contract extension. I've played previous incarnations of the game for about a decade now, but my casual dipping of the last few years has become a full blown obsession again because Bowling Bob got himself a copy and now we are 'networked' (which isn't a euphemism for gayness). I'm now massively sleep deprived and such is my aggravation that my eyes are strained from staring at this laptop for so long days on end (I've even been developing an occasional twitch in my right eye, which I'm going to get looked at).

What are other things to mention, erm found a gem of a author/webauthor/general genius who is Greg Stekelman. Just visit www.themanwhofellasleep.com and laugh your buns off, wish I could be as funny as him...

Been watching a lot of South Park lately, forgot how funny it was and how it beats Family Guy like a drunk husband. Also just heard the new Kings of Leon album, which for one of my favourite bands disappointed me greatly. They seem to think they're evolving but save for two tracks the album is plodding and clogged up with bland Edge-style fret wanking. I also recommend the book 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' by Michael Chabon and I also urge somebody talented (sit down Ratner) to make it into a film.

Also thought of an invention that will become a story that I just thought of now that I will work on. I have about five stories that I think are cracking premises but thong thick in actual substance. Still I'm no Dostoyevsky (wow I spelt it right first time, the little red line didn't show up or anything!) so I'm sure that if I ever finish any of them they'll be just as thin as everything else I've done. I hope that over time my style can mature and I can be motivated enough to even attempt to break some conventions and be truly innovative. One can hope...

The website will soon be surged with updates, there's a new story (all 6000 words of it) and a few film reviews will drip feed on as well so keep peeled, even though by the time I've seen the latest films you probably will have too. Way to keep ahead of the curve eh? Also there is an e-mail box on the 'about' page for anything you'd be nice enough to send.

Ciao for now


Monday, 18 August 2008

Childhood Fears

On my way to work today I passed a small black crow just standing on the path staring into space. As I passed it the bird didn’t move. Wow what a tame bird I thought. Hey wait a minute…. I inspected closer and the bugger was dead! Just standing there lifeless but in pristine condition, like a drive by taxidermy. I always used to have a random fear of being close to animals when I was a kid, I grew up with two budgies and I barely laid a finger on them, as I prodded the dead crow with a stick I felt a strange sense of pride that I never would have done that when I was seven. When I think about it, all my childhood fears were fairly ridiculous, show me an exploding head I wouldn’t flinch but these other things… well many a sleepless night was had. Such mad nuggets include:

Being in the sea and stepping on a crab

The bit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when Christopher Lloyd’s eyes bug out.

I used to run out of the room when Bill Bixby changed into the Incredible Hulk. My uncle’s resemblance to him scared me even more and I once refused a piece of Battenburg from him out of pure fear.

People finding out I couldn’t tie my shoelaces when in fact I could, just in an odd way.

The Channel 4 sign was always a recurring nightmare for me, there was always something about it I found oddly menacing and a typical nightmare would consist of me trying to run away from it and it would shape shift through any obstacle in it’s path, whenever it caught me I would always wake up before it could attack. How it would’ve attacked me I don’t know but something in my daft head was scared shitless of it and I just had to time my Channel 4 viewing like turning on The Crystal Maze late so I’d miss that ominous logo.

Poking that crow didn’t get rid of my demons, growing up and realizing how dumb they were did, but it reminded me of how much I’ve changed, yet next time I’m in the sea that bastard crab will no doubt be waiting...

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Saluting Harvey Keitel

Here are a collection of my favourite Harvey Keitel scenes. Not from his best films by any means, but they perfectly capture the great man's range.

When Harvey Keitel is in love, there's only one way he can express it.

I do this when I listen to Liverpool games.

If you ever wondered what Harvey Keitel impersonating Elvis looking like Johnny Cash dressed as Elvis....

Friday, 1 August 2008


Start this video and then scroll down to read, the video is nothing special but I want you to listen to the music as you go on. Unless you like the idea of hearing it over what looks like a deleted scene from Tron.

If you have been following this blog you may recall me writing briefly about spirituality and faith last time round. I'm not suddenly a preacher or even religious, but this week has shown me a thing or two. My Aunt was many things to many people, A nan for my brothers, A mum for my stepmother and a wife for my uncle. My family is quite large and complex, but she was an integral part and it has only begun to sink in just how much we'll all miss her. She was deeply religious and a strong Christian.

Tuesday after a long morning travelling I was alone with the boys for an afternoon. It was the first time they'd been without their parents and it was daunting to think of how I could look after them without mum and dad. But they were angelic and the time flew, it was tiring but I changed the nappies and raced imaginary motorbikes without problems. When they returned from church you could swim in the relief that I hadn't cocked up at all. They went to bed late and dad and I had to get bits from Tesco. We set off at half eleven groggy and tired. My stepmother started tidying...

Joe had been talking all day of a certain toy he wanted; an EVE from WALL-E. So in Tesco we had a good look for it and after turning over the WALL-E stand they had every toy but that one. Dad considered an alternate but in a sudden outburst of stubbornness I was adamant that it had to be that one. I checked the time on my phone, it was 11:58. I was walking away from the toys until I stopped. I turned and went back and with no real effort I just plucked the toy he wanted from the least likely place hidden away. I thought nothing of it and I just cracked a joke with Dad and bunged it the trolley. Meanwhile back at the house....

My step-mum is loading the dishwasher and she looks up at the clock; 11:58pm. This was the time Briar passed away it turned out. She stopped cleaning and went to sit in the lounge. The hallway door had swung wide open with no breeze or open window. As she watched it just slowly closed itself, quietly and discreetly so as not to make a sound. When her brother Matthew returned from my Uncle's we shared our experiences and he shrugged it off. Not dismissively but with a 'oh she's been interfering all the time'. He went on to list a string of ridiculous coincidences and twists of fate, all minor things but a clear sign that Briar in some way was still around. The way the cookbook fell on her Welsh cake recipe, the two button suit he bought subconsciously despite his hatred of them (she was fond of them); the way the cakes tasted just like hers even though his girlfriend had never made them before; the font for the order of service changing on an unused computer. He went on for ages. When he mentioned her full name to us all a warm breeze permeated the room. He looked to the door again and reopened it, it felt to us like she was eavesdropping. Once the conversation moved elsewhere it cooled and she seemed absent. Weird eh?

Wednesday was the funeral and although I wanted to go I was the only one who could look after Joe and Billy so it was a long afternoon entertaining a six year old and a two year old at the same time. Parenting is tough, but in a way those two days proved I was more capable than I thought. I was to have my own time at the cemetery the next day and I considered that to be my time to say goodbye. We got dinner at the Llanelli Domino's and it's amazing how, well, Welsh it is. English is the second language and perhaps my fake accent was all that stopped our pizza getting laced with butane.

Thursday, of all the days was her birthday. We commemorated it in the way she had planned. We went to the beach, in the cold lashing rain and harsh wind so Joe could fly his kite. At first it just flopped to the sand and dragged along but with perseverance and a sudden gust it soared up into the sky. It was a beautiful moment, Joe and Billy racing along the beach shouting happy birthday into the clouds. My step mum was inconsolable; so proud of her boys. The weather forced us off the beach and before leaving the clouds parted and in that little pocket of sunshine we parked overlooking the horizon and played Clair de Lune, one of Briar's favourite pieces of music. We all sat silently for those five minutes but after so long being a strong shoulder I caved in. I couldn't bear to look at anything I just bowed my head and fought the tears. I'd lost a lot lately and it was my moment to let it go. That song will always remind me of that, It still loops in my head and it will for a while. It's the most delicate piece of music I've ever heard. Matt took me to the cemetery and the rain had not been kind to the plot, I felt sad but realized my moment was at the beach earlier, I paid my respects and left quickly, Matt was feeling uncomfortable around it and I did too. I had a quick joke and nostalgic talk with my uncle before saying goodbye. Of everyone in my family I feel the most sadness for him. It's hard to see what he has left in his life but I see in him a desire to pursue causes Briar would have been proud of and I hope to help where I can and be around for him a bit more. He also owes me a pint, add that to the two my dad owes me maybe I can work towards a pub lunch.

Now I'm back home and still pretty jaded but a part of me is better off from my time away, my family bonds feel closer than ever and it's sad that the last time I felt that was after my Grandma died. The irony is that funerals always brings a family together but there'll always be one missing. Something even in my glass half empty brain tells me that Briar is around somewhere though.

Monday, 28 July 2008

What is now, what never was and That's Amore

Well what an up and mostly down time it has been. Shortly I am embarking on a brief trip, it's a chance to pay my respects to my Aunt Briar who sadly died of Lung Cancer after a long battle through the year. So it's off to Wales for the week and really a responsibility of keeping some sort of morale for my family and handling my younger brothers, for whom death is a foreign concept. I will miss the funeral but I also have a vital job to do and it will give me a chance to do something good and try to put aside other things that have been going on in my life.

Spiritually although I was Christened in God's house (It's very tidy but he could use a sofa or two) I've always been wary of how inconclusive faith is. I think although you can never know for sure it's idealistic and easier to believe in a loved one watching over you after you've gone. It doesn't matter if it's true, when you find out for real I doubt you'd be able to tell anyone anyway. I hope that for all my scepticism there are things of interest beyond this life and somewhere up there Aunt Briar gets to meet Elvis. I have many fond memories and many Briar-isms I remember. She took forever to tell a story, often taking the scenic route and often either forgot my name or called me something else entirely. I think she called me Edward for a while and the last time she referred to me she called me Alfred. She was an incredible cook from her skyscraper roast dinner portions to her apricot sponges and was the greatest Scrabble player I have ever faced.

What has paralleled this event though is a something of a different sort, at a time when I should perhaps rediscover a little faith or hold notions of life's balance something should happen that flips that all on its head. By the time I had discovered it, the time had passed between and nothing could be done. My Dad says life is all on the job training, but you never learn things in order. Some things are easy to deal with, others are not, but life never waits until you are ready.

If by now your mood has been thoroughly ruined I apologize, so here's something completely different. This video always makes me laugh because this guy is terrible, yet nobody sniggers, they let him carry on and finish. You have to bear with the first minute I can't understand a word the woman says before she introduces him, but I promise John Daker is worth the wait.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Drum Roll Please

So this is my site and this is it’s first blog. Well it's a link from my site but whatever.

So where am I in my life?

Well I’ve been living in my current home for a few months now. It’s the swankiest house I’ve ever lived in that’s for sure. I only hear a police helicopter once a month at most. I have three great housemates. Rich, Bob and Dave and as far as I’m concerned I’d take a bullet or a rough Chinese burn for all three of them. My job is the ball and chain that pays my bills and prevents me from doing this more often. For reasons of keeping it I probably shouldn’t mention the company but it rhymes with Craplin. It’s a great source of stress, but then so are most jobs involving the general public. My love life is well.. as always indefinable.

But onto less personal issues, one thing I have become aware of (since the news can’t shut up about it) is knife crime. Now a knife has many uses and I would not go as far as to ban them from existence as some Daily Mail readers would wish. My first idea is simple; you go to every knife manufacturer around, recall all the knives and fit them and any new knife with a pink flowery handle. Can’t cost the earth to do surely? Who in their right mind would want to stab someone up with a pink flowery knife? Second idea is to arm absolutely everybody with one, from librarians to school teachers. If everybody has a switchblade, they just become a fad like Pokemon cards.

Obviously youth crime will find other ways to piss us all off but I say just equip armed gun turrets outside every Londis and Costcutter. This doesn’t even have to be used to punish gobby minors. Ever got pissed off at someone not holding a door open for you or not thanking you for doing the same? A quick burst of gunfire and that wanker is going down, at the discretion of shop management of course. You may think, but Phil isn’t that barbaric? Well they kill folks for much less in Zimbabwe, that election was a joke; Robert Mugabe throwing his dolly out the pram, ‘If I can’t win then no one will!’ imagine if Bush started hunting down democrat voters and shooting them? I don’t want George Clooney to die! The world can be a horrible place full of horrible people. All I’m saying is you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes and bad people ought to be brought to justice, whether they’re dictators or navel gazers.