Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tunnel Rat

The rat looked up as he heard the tube train clattering up the tunnel.
“I’m getting old now,” he thought. “That noise ain’t doing me no good.”
He continued gnawing on a long juicy snake he’d found lying away from the wall.
“That’s funny,” he had thought. “Don’t get many of these down here normally.”
The track rattled as the train approached, knocking his tail off the metal.
“I’m too old for this game. All this noise. I need some peace and quiet. I fancy a move to the country. Maybe I’ll try St Albans.”
He nibbled a bit more of the leathery snake, which hummed with the vibration of the oncoming train.
“Cor, I need this. I haven’t had any protein for days.”
The noise was deafening. The train was almost upon him.
“Rats!” he thought. “I’ll have to leave it till later. That bloody Benedict will probably get it.”
If he didn’t leave it now he’d be in danger of getting crushed. But he was still getting through the tough skin; a few more nibbles and he’d get into the meat.
The wind was getting right up now, the screaming of the wheels as the train braked for the corner shimmered in the air.
A nibble, a nibble, another nibble. The lights of the train shone off the wall from around the corner.
“I can see the meat,” thought the rat, eyes gleaming in the new light. He sunk his teeth deep into the electric cable. The arc of the electricity sent him flying, fur burning, straight into the path of the tube train. The last thing the driver saw before the train came to a sudden halt and the lights went out was a flaming rodent splattered across his windscreen, cooked through, practically falling off the bone, the crazed gleam in his eyes still evident to the shocked driver.
Not as shocked as the rat though, obviously.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A poem by Loxley

I'm about to slit my wrists
I'm going to die
That's the end of me

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Orange Bastards

I had problems with my new Orange phone. Specifically that they won't unbar it until I fax them proof of my address. However, the next day, when I ring the call centre in Bangalore to get my phone put on, there is a problem. So begins three days of growing rage, magnified somehow by the fact of it being focussed into such a small area as a phone. Obviously, sending the phone to my address is no proof at all, but neither is apparently a British Gas bill (Don't ask. I asked about 100 times [post goes on at long, dribbling length] ... Orange[bastards]'s stringent 'policies' ... Oh yeah, I thought, that's helpful ... Orange bastards ... And I have to fight this battle so I can... give them loads of money. Hmmmm. Time to call up the contract cancellation department. I hate to think how much worse this is going to get.

Things I have learnt this week: everyone has a big company phone line horror story; one of the drawbacks of finding someone to let off steam to is that you have to reciprocally listen to their equally torturous tale, which was probably bad enough at the time and gains nothing in the retelling. Rather like other people's dreams, and other people's travel stories, other people's call centre hell tales belong in the huge lead-lined box that we're going to fire up into outer-space; along with all the call centres.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Life's leaving

My beautiful cousin was the latest eligible female to bemoan her unattached status. “What am I going to do?” she asked me, “I'm going to die alone.”
I told her: “everybody dies alone. If you don't die alone it means there's been some sort of a disaster.”

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Compare & Contrast


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bill goes Virago

I told him “I’m pregnant.”
He said, “Congratulations! Who’s the father?”
There was a long silence.
“You bastard,” I whispered.
“Oh,” he said.

She told me: "I'm pregnant."
I said: "Congratulations! Who's the father?"
There was a long silence.
"You bastard," she whispered.
"Oh," I said.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Public Life

Saturday morning, after one Friday night too many, I end up outside Public Life, a bar/club situated in a renovated public toilet outside Christ Church, Spitalfields. It was inevitable really; there are so many toilets masquerading as bars in Hoxton, it was only a matter of time before somebody went the whole bog hog. I couldn't even muster the indignation to say they are taking the piss. Of course there was a huge queue outside - this at 8 in the morning - and I'd imagine spending a penny wouldn't get you very far in there, so I put my tail between my legs and went and took a slash up Brick Lane.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Cat with only one life

The question of Schroedinger's cat, which has consumed top-level physicists and very stoned geeks over the past 100 years has reared its ugly head once again. The question Schroedinger raised states in essence that if a scenario exists where a cat could be isolated from external interference (decoherence), the state of the cat can only be known as a superposition (combination) of possible rest states (eigenstates) because finding out (measuring the state) cannot be done without the observer interfering with the experiment — the measurement system (the observer) is entagled with the experiment.

The thought experiment serves to illustrate the strangeness of quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states. The idea of a particle existing in a superposition of possible states, while a fact of quantum mechanics, is a concept that does not scale to large systems (like cats), which are not indeterminably probabilistic in nature. courtesy of Wikipedia

Or in other words, if you put a cat in a box it could be dead or it could be alive and until you find out, you don't know it could be both or it could be neither.

But the question of whether the cat is dead or alive was finally answered today by physioveterinarian Mark Fowells, who in a groundbreaking study published in Nature, pointed out that regardless of the action of the atomic-based poison gas release system indicated in the experiment, after three days or so the cat is pretty much dead.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fucking hell

Its Tom Lehrer!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Flood and guts

The full under-stated beauty of the British stiff upper lip has been on display as the floods have wrecked middle England. An old couple were taken by a news crew to see the remains of their house, half of which has fallen into the fast-flowing river. They can see most of their bedroom, where a dressing gown still hangs on the door. “How do you feel?” asks the reporter. “Not brilliant,” the old dear tells him.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ron Jonson

I’m reading the paper on Saturday morning. “Cor!” I think, “This Jon Ronson’s quite good. I think I’d like to write something like him.” I wonder if I should write to Jon and tell him about my idea. “Hang on!” I think, “perhaps Jon won’t like that. Perhaps Jon will think ‘there’s only room for one person to write off-the-cuff, insubstantial fluff cunningly concealing real, genuine insight into one life’s merry masquerade.’ Perhaps, he’ll even take it as an attack.”

I wouldn’t like to attack Jon. I think he’s great. How do I tell him that I think he’s great without looking like I’m trying to attack him?

My boy Noel comes into the room. “Dad,” he says, “Can we go out and play in the pond today.”

I sigh loudly. My wife, down the hall in the bathroom hears me. “Ron!” she shouts, “take him to the pond. Stop obsessing about Jon Ronson.”

Later on, after I’ve wiped the flakes of mud off my glasses and out of my hair, I reflect that life must be really hard for Jon Ronson. “All those people writing to him the whole time, expecting things from him. I wouldn’t like that at all.” I decide I’ll definitely not write to him.

My wife is unimpressed and tells me that if I don’t stop watching Secret Rulers of the World again she’s going to go to her mother’s for the rest of the weekend.

Hmmm, I think. How does he do it? How does he transmogrify his dull everyday meanderings into comic nuggets of gold?

“I can’t stand the way he uses his family in his pieces,” my wife always says when we discuss Jon. I have always agreed with her. I decide to steer clear of anything like that and just report objectively on the things people want to know about, using my charming neurotic persona to smooth out any suspicion that I’m a grasping, malevolent journalist. I wonder what I should have as my first topic.

“How about conspiracy theories?” says my neighbour Dan, who’s come round to borrow the paper. “I can’t,” I say, “Jon’s already done that.” I point to a copy of Them, which sits on my shelf next to the Secret Rulers DVD. “Oh,” says Dan. He takes the paper and goes back next door.

I pause, stare out of the window, and clean my glasses. “I know. I won’t tackle any really big things at all, at least not at first. Instead I’ll just sort of write about what I’m thinking and the conversations I have.”

I stare out of the window a bit more. Then I have a very significant thought: “It’ll be sort of like an episode of Seinfeld.”

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bruce Molsky, Magpie’s Nest

Some people are so accomplished, they defy you to shrink them into language. Instead of piling inadequate superlatives upon them, you are left only able to give them a single, particular word; par example Bruce Molsky. The Bronx-born master of fiddle, guitar and banjo is nothing less than an all-encapsulating definition of the word ‘talent’. Molsky plays the fiddle as though charming an upturned, rapidly emptying bottle of wine. However it is that he plays something, it is how it is meant to be played. He plays accurate, smooth and as lively as a firecracker. Every now and then he jerks some new and unexpected sounds from his instrument, as though waking up spirits that are dozing inside. But the music, American old-time, is not so much mystical, instead practical and rational. It is not spirits, but pure joy that he jerks from his violin, a gift to all who hear it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Blackwall Tunnel

Drivers are up in arms after the Transport for London authority closed the 30-year old 'tidal flow' rush-hour management of traffic in the Blackwall Tunnel, escalating many-fold the already terrible congestion at the tunnel approaches. There are talks of drivers leading a protest. Some sort of 'drive slow' perhaps?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The lazy do the work

I live in a small flat. Cramped. Cluttered. I do have a washing machine, which is mainly a good thing and only slightly a problem because of where to hang the clothes. I could shell out for a washer-drier, I suppose, but I am either far too piously environmental for that, or just too cheap. For many years I had a very cheap plastic triangular rack which, despite being some way short of commodious enough for the inundation of my laundry, managed to air hundreds of washes in any case. Then, at a friends, I spotted a multi-triangular affair, reminiscent of the spacecraft in Close Encounters of a Third Kind, able to accommodate a veritable bonanza of soggy Mr Byrite products. After some sine qua non procrastination I located and bought a similar one. Two full loads of washing hung from its eaves, plus you could hang towels and sheets over the top. My airing pile-up crises were over. The original puny triangle rack lay against my bookshelves. I twice considered throwing it out. I meant to. I even began to, but it somehow remained, leaning languidly against the shelves, like a too-cool teenager who knows something you don’t.

And then today I was putting up a blind and I rested it on the triple-decker alien spaceship washing hanger, momentarily. It folded up flat on the floor, the way it would be if I ever got round to taking the clothes off it before I’d washed a new load, which is never. After I put up the blind I tried to restore the structure to its full architectural glory but I soon realised that something had gone very wrong. Further inspection revealed all. The fleeting stress of the blind’s weight had caused the chrome effect bars to shear apart, destroying entirely the carefully plotted equilibrium and leaving the entire edifice limp and flat and completely worthless. I briefly wondered if I’d bought it from a reputable store like John Lewis, from where I could never bother to go and claim a refund, but thankfully I think it was probably from the cheapo hardware store down the road. It lies in a heap on my bedroom floor. The cheap white plastic triangle still leans against the bookshelves, coolly smoking a cigarette.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Life's bitter conundrum

I was feeling bored, like, like I was a really boring person and I hadn’t done nothing interesting ever more or less so I got a gun and I shot a couple of strangers, thinking now this is fucking interesting isn’t it and they came and arrested me and now I’m in prison and I’m bored again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Times is streets ahead

Accurate forecasts of the weather in individual streets are likely to be available within five years, meterorologists predict.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Today I got run over

Sometimes I feel like crying
I feel like that a lot
Sometimes I have a reason
but mostly I have not

Monday, January 22, 2007

Curse of the Jade Scorpwned

A little late in the day, naturally, I thought I’d wade into the Jade affair. I haven’t watched much of it, but why should that stop me adding my tuppence-worth (note to commissioning editors, that is not an invoice). This is the story of how one young lady from Elephant and Castle made it as a star on Big Brother before – in a frankly quite brilliant move – returning on Celebrity Big Brother. What finer accolade than to return to the scene of your ennoblement, clad in your celebrity ermine robes? Of course it could only be downhill from there.

The papers have been focusing to a large extent on whether or not Jade and her two dim cohorts’ bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa is racist or not. Many commentators have suggested that class differences were more at play – which I would tend to agree with. Other people have reasonably pointed out that racist bullying is a lot like what they have been up to, whether or not the racism is explicit. But I would say that bullying is a big tent and a lot of racism fits snugly under it.

Racism is a thorny topic at the best of times and the reaction to Celebrity Big Brother just goes to show how potent even an accusation of racism is. I would have thought it was enough for them to be horrible bullies, but apparently they must be lanced with the hot blade of multiculturalism.

And what an outpouring of hatred towards Jade! I mean, come on! You’d almost think all these journalists turning out copy after copy of bile and venom had never liked her in the first place and were only forced belatedly to endure her because she was so genuinely popular with the general public. And you’d be right. But to read Tony Parsons going on about her as a fat, ugly pig with no talent or intelligence (Tony fucking Parsons!) is to wonder why fattism or povertyism or just general working-classism isn’t as much of a taboo as racism.

Jade is by no means stupid, despite her greviously uneducated gaffs, but from the minute I saw her I liked her. She is as genuine as they come, which means not 100% but quite a bit higher than most. And she is a survivor – her life story reads like the sort of thing that happens to Charles Bronson before he goes on the rampage. Now its taken another dramatic turn.

If there’s one good thing to come out of this, it’s that Russell Brand wrote a half-decent article in the Guardian. Alas I can’t link to it because the Guardian seem to be embarrassed about paying him and he doesn’t feature on their website in their list of writers, despite his weekly column. But it agreed with me wholeheartedly, only wasn’t as funny.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Keeley Hazell Sex Tape Shocker!!!

Bromley-born Keeley Hazell has, over the last year or so, been breaking hearts all across Britain from her vantage point on page 3 of The Sun. The 20-year-old heart nob-throb seems to have captured male youth attention in a way no tits-n-ass girl has since the ludicrous days when Samantha Fox and Linda Lusardi regularly endangered shipping. The Sun is positively weighed down with photos of her. Quite why, to paraphrase Mrs Merton, big-breasted Keeley should have garnered so much coverage is not immediately obvious – nor why I should be devoting the pages of such a high-minded blog to her exploits – but there you are. I need to find things to write about in order to keep my (ahem) quota up.

I’ll say this for Keeley – she wears those breasts well. In her veritable bounty of page 3 appearances she sports an endless variety of make-up and hair-styles, to the point where while inspecting a selection of her photos I wasn’t even sure they were all of her. Perhaps this is trying to spread her appeal around as much as possible – it doesn’t matter if you like blondes or brunettes, natural looks or caked-on skin-crust, Keeley and her robust assistants can twang your heart-strings too. The other thing about her is that unlike the slender twigs of youth that we are used to staring out at us from some cocaine-fuelled nightmare alter-reality, she is both bumptious of body and resolutely ordinary. Of course she comes from Bromley! She will probably settle down there, bang out three kids and get fat eating pie and chips as soon as she so desires. She is the everyman’s everywoman; you could be chatting up a girl just like her down at Cinatras, Croydon this very Saturday!

So we come to the sex-tape. When I read, on the masthead of The Sun no less, news of Keeley’s Sex Tape Shame and turned to page 3 to read, alongside yet another alluring photo of Bromley’s finest, of her sorrow at the leaking of this private material, I was briefly cynical. Well in fact at first I was briefly amused, especially as Keeley has managed her meteoric rise impeccably and thus far refused to do any nonny-shots in Playboy. But after that I was cynical, because if I was trying to keep the lid on it I wouldn’t go putting news of the leak on the front page of The Sun. I heard on the radio she was getting lawyers to remove it from websites. Then I heard that you can buy the sex tape on the internet. Which increased my cynicism severalfold. Of course, the internet being what it is I managed to watch it the same day at no personal cost, unless you count ten minutes I’ll never get back again. Can you see the sacrifices I’m making here?

Anyway, you can probably find it yourself if you are so inclined. For those of you who are interested there follows a prĂ©cis. What we get for our money is about five minutes of Keeley “performing a sex-act” on a strapping young man of dubious conversational skills. This blowjob, performed with the grace and finesse of a farmer milking a recalcitrant animal, doesn’t really concern me, except as further evidence of the wonderful hypothesis that celebrities have shit sex. My complaint stems from the fact that for the entirety of the blowjob Keeley keeps her principle assets firmly locked away in a doubtless expensive but entirely superfluous shirt. This seems akin to going to Italy and eating McDonalds.

There then follows a rather sweet interlude where Keeley lies on the bed in the altogether. Apart from a brief gynaecological examination, the boyfriend focuses the camera mainly on her face while he tells her how pretty she is and how he loves her. Ha! Let that be a lesson to all of you who claim that men are too scared to say “I love you”. If saying “I love you” means that a year later you’ll leak a tawdry sex-vid onto the internet, I’m not only a coward, I’m Noel Coward. Anyway, after this the young couple proceed to the sex part of the sex-tape. Now, call me a stick-in-the-mud, but if you’re going to film yourselves having sex, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have sex in roundabouts the same vicinity as the camera? Wouldn’t that be sort of part of the point? Instead of which we mostly get a couple of ankles going at it like they’re trying to sand the Great Wall of China. If I was an ambitious young lady, apparently studying Psychology at college in order to get (more) film work, I’d sack the ne’er-do-well directing this short and get myself a more professional cameraman, which is more-or-less what she seems to have done.

Keeley, for her part, reports being “devastated and humiliated” at news that the tape has leaked out. If I was her, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Nobody was talking about her to their grandmas anyway. Was it a ruse? Of all the page 3 girls out there she is probably the last one who needs to do this for publicity. On the other hand, it may well the leg-up she needs for the cut-throat American porn movie world.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Years Eve 2007

I've enjoyed it heartily...
or is it hardly?