Monday, June 26, 2006

Becks' sick stunt

The world's gone vomit mad! After England captain David Beckham scored and then barfed in the team's 1-0 victory over Ecuador in the World Cup yesterday, it's all that's been coming out of people's mouths.

Following the goal / hurl, commentator John Motson pointed out that this was not the first time Becks has yakked after scoring. "I'm glad you brought that up John," replied fellow commentator Mark Lawrenson.

The tabloids came up with some good ones. "Becks beauty makes 'em sick", said The Star and "Here we throw", The Mirror. The Sun topped them both easily with "Queasy does it". But The Mirror's website smashed the competition with "The Spewtiful game". Well done them. Meanwhile, even the Big Brother house got in on the act, with housemates being woken by a recording of Glyn vomiting on his bedclothes.

What does Beckham have to say about all this? "It just came out."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Carte D'whore

Research just out has identified today, Friday 23 June, as the happiest day of the year. "The study suggested the warm weather, outdoor activities, and time spent with friends and relatives were the vital ingredients for a happy life," says the BBC. Apparently England's World Cup performances are also a contributory factor, though I'm not so sure about that myself.

Cliff Arnall, the University of Cardiff psychologist who came up with the report, said: "Whether it is a sunny day, a childhood memory, or something as effortless as eating a delicious ice cream, I wanted my formula to prove the key to happiness can really be that simple."

Funny coincidence that he should mention ice cream so prominently, given that the research was commissioned by, er, Wall's ice cream.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A short essay on Back to the Future

Doc Emmet Brown: mad scientist, or scientific madman?

Every time I watch the Back to the Future trilogy (believe me, this is quite often), something new emerges. There’s a lovely moment when Doc Brown sees that his dog, Einstein, is getting agitated. He goes over to the dog and reassures him: "Everything'll be all right, Einie." Which is weird when you think how throughout the films, the whole construction of reality – particularly the future – is constantly in doubt. Will everything really be all right? He says it with such conviction.

It was this train of thought that got me thinking about Doc Brown, and I came to some unexpected conclusions. Eagle-eared viewers will notice a number of references to "the Brown estate", money which Brown has inherited and used to fund his science experiments. But despite the films’ constant references to genealogy, particularly to the family McFly and the Tannen clan, there is never any mention of Brown's family.

At this stage, one begins to wonder whether in fact Brown's inheritance has in fact been "handed down" from himself to himself. But when his young friend Marty McFly attempts to profit from time travel (by taking a sports almanac from the future back to the present) Brown lambasts him. How is this different from what Doc seems to have done himself? One imagines Brown would defend himself by saying that he did it in the interests of science – and he would undoubtedly say the same when asked why he lied to and stole from a group of trusting Libyans. But how far will you let such moral relativism take you, Emmet?

When, in Back to the Future 2's 1955, Brown opens a suitcase full of money of a range of currencies, muttering "Need to be prepared for all eventualities," Marty looks up at him in surprise. In his mind a distant voice is challenging him, whispering, "Marty, how much do you really know about this 'Doc' man?" I have now heard that voice, but unlike poor Marty, I have heeded its words.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Woen

In yesterday's post I totally tempted fate. And fate has slowly put its pint down, calmly walked over, and smacked me in the face.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Alan-y and the Ecstasy

Sorry to keep quoting Alan Bennett, but here's another (rather topical) one from Untold Stories (which I finally finished on Saturday):

12 May 2001. Watching five minutes at the conclusion of the Cup Final (to the outcome of which I am utterly indifferent), I wonder whether the girlfriend of Michael Owen, who scores the winning goal, will be thinking that any love they might make later on this evening will stand no comparison with the ecstasy induced by the goal, and what she feels about this.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The folly of Microsoft

Microsoft are poised to launch Internet Explorer version 7 - you can download the Beta version now - and at first it seems quite cool, but then you realise it's still ridiculously slow compared to the majestic Firefox browser. Here's another reason why Firefox is amazing: www.ie7.com

At my new job I'm struggling using shit IE6, especially as this is the kind of thing where I need three CMS windows open, plus various pages of our website, BBC and Sky News, and my Hotmail, at the very least. The lack of tabbed browsing is killing me. And I don’t have administrator rights (access to Program Files), so I can't download any applications.

How to get around it? Well it's certainly too early in the job for me to start hassling IT guys who, if I emailed them for help, would probably e-spit on me. My idea of copying Firefox to a CD (it's a really old computer, so forget USB ports) and then sticking it on the desktop was totally thwarted: the CD drive wouldn’t even open!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pun of the week

Placenta of attention

Story in The Sun about Sting and Trudy Styler's son, who was embarrassed on his birthday when his parents showed his friends a video of his birth

On the Crouch

Crouchballs. Everywhere you look, Crouchballs. Weeks on, England striker Peter Crouch – and his infamous robot dance goal celebration (“it’s the new craze that’s sweeping the nation!” etc etc) – is still being referenced in the most unlikely places. Examples? But of course:

New British Mars probe
Researcher Dr Mike Healy said: 'It can perform a tighter turning circle than Peter Crouch – but we have not got it to dance yet.'
Metro, June 13

Giant outdoor TV screens for public to watch the football
In Liverpool the BBC had planned a "family-friendly, no-alcohol environment" with enough elbow room to be able to "do the Crouch" - the England striker's celebratory robotic dance.
The Guardian, June 13

Chinese inventor creates rickshaw-pulling robot
England soccer star Peter Crouch’s robot dance is really catching on — even with this new Chinese invention. The battery-powered robot pulls a rickshaw ridden by Wu Yulu, 45, who spent a year making it from scrap in Beijing.
The Sun, June 14

Robot football tournament taking place in Germany
"Forget Peter Crouch's robot dance – now you can have the real thing, as the 2006 Robot World Cup kicks off in Germany."
Metro, June 15

Friday, June 16, 2006

Creature from the blog lacuna

Sorry about the massive hiatus. I have this theory. If your life gets too interesting and fun-packed, you have no time to blog. If your life gets too boring and empty, you have nothing to blog about. If you want a decent blog, it’s all about finding a good balance between the two. In such a way, if you’re a committed blogger, then your blogging will actually affect how you live your life, rather than the other way round.

Anyway, this is all to say: no blogging because I've been busy. Finished my job. Started new job. Watched huge amounts of football. Argued with girlfriend. Drank beer. There you go, you’re up to date again.

Something to read in the meantime (this kind of thing is my job now).

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wheel or no wheel

Went for a couple of drinks with poet Jamie on Tuesday (NB Poet Jamie is a different person to housemate Jamie or crazy Jamie. Recently I considered inviting the three of them out for a pint - they don't know each other - and then watching gleefully as the confusion set in and they realised the hilarious prank I'd pulled on them. But then I thought they might feel they'd only been invited because they were called Jamie. And in a way, they'd be right).

Jamie could only stay for a few pints he said, because he was giving his bicycle away. I asked if his bike was getting married. He said, yes, she's found a lovely man bike and I'm walking her down the aisle. I said, no come on be serious.

He explained that a short while back, the wheels had been stolen from his bicycle, rendering it useless. So he'd advertised it on Freecycle, a website that's a bit like Ebay, except everything's given away for free (the name "Freecycle" is a pun on "recycle", nothing to do with bicycles). Four people were interested in his wheel-less bike and one of them was coming over that evening to collect it. I ventured that perhaps this man had a couple of wheels himself that he could attach to the bike. "Yeah," said Jamie. "I put in the advert 'Would suit: the blighter who stole the wheels in the first place.'"

Don't plug yourself

This entry is all about selling other people. The OTHERS. I seem to have reached a stage in my life when a noticeable number of my friends are becoming, like, professional and stuff, and I'd like to advertise them here. Here goes:

Are you an Asian socialite? Great! Then visit Chilli Tickets, buy a load of tickets for Asian social nights and get yourself on the scene!

Are you a jazz purist? Great! Then check out Sax Collective, book them to play your wedding and get some jazz down you!

Are you a student or desperate alcoholic? Great! Then visit Glacier Vodka, buy a load of delicious mint-flavoured vodka and get fucked!

Are you a sensitive soul? Great! Then read or listen to some of this poetry, buy a load of copies of James Wilkes' book of poetry Ex Chaos and get enlightened!

Are you casting a play or film? Great! Then check out Peter Head, put him in the lead role and get massive kudos for being "the person who discovered Peter Head"!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pun of the week

A plaque and Dekker tribute

Headline to a story in the South London Press about suggestions that the late reggae legend Desmond Dekker be commemorated with a plaque on his former London home.

Poetry Corner

In Memoriam Billy Preston

So.
Farewell then Billy
Preston.

You played piano
With the
Stones and Dylan.

Also on the George
Harrison song
All Things Must Pass.

Now you have.

With apologies to E.J. Thripp (aged 17 ½)

More from the poetry corner
Chris Penn

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

World Cup fever

Two days to go, and even the Stockwell Flats are getting in on the act...



More madness

"I look forward to the point where we don't discuss Rooney's foot any more, very much so." Sven-Goran Eriksson (Reuters, June 7)

***

COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE SCAN
Daily Mirror headline, on the crucial foot scan that will determine Rooney's World Cup fate

***

Subbuteo to rush out dancing Crouch model
Peter Crouch and his robotic dance are to be immortalised in a Subbuteo figure. A spokesman said: "The Crouch bop has really made its way into the public consciousness so it seems like the right thing to do. We are working flat out to get the figure out." (The Guardian, June 6)

***

William Hill offered odds of 50-1 that Crouch would win TV dance contest "Strictly Come Dancing."
...
"I was goaded into it by the rest of the lads," a bashful Crouch said of his impromptu display before [Prince] William, second in line to the throne and honorary president of the English Football Association.

Shaking his head in amused bewilderment, Crouch said: "He's the future King of England and I've just done a stupid dance in front of him. It's all a bit surreal to be honest." (Reuters, June 5)

***

Odds on Eriksson to perform 'The Robot' dance on the pitch during any England match during the World Cup: 25-1 (Paddypower.com)

***

Bayern Munich midfielder Martin Demichelis says he has lost the will to live after missing out on a place in Argentina's World Cup squad.

"It's not only that I don't have any desire to play anymore -- I don't have any desire to live," Demichelis was quoted in German media as telling an Argentine television network. (Reuters, May 17)

***

Churches offer World Cup half-time services
World Cup visitors can pray for divine intervention if their team is losing in special half-time religious services.
...
The services will feature football related sermons and hymns that resemble team anthems allowing worshippers of the World Cup to pray for victory. (Ananova, June 7)

***

"I would steer clear of it personally."
Crooner Tony Christie on the Tonedef Allstars World Cup song Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Jurgen Klinsmann? (BBC Sport, June 7)

***

PARAGUAY are using basketball tactics in a bid to tackle England beanpole Peter Crouch on Saturday.

The South Americans’ first choice centre backs are both under 6ft — while Crouch, 25, is a towering 6ft 7ins.

Paraguay’s fitness coaches are now strapping WEIGHTS to players’ ankles in training.

New Jersey basketball coach John Cardozo said: "It could increase their foot speed as well as jumping." (The Sun)

***

"They change the offside rule, more or less, all the time," sighed Eriksson. "You remember the goal scored in the Premier League, Djibril Cisse against Blackburn, when he jumped over the ball? In the past that would have been offside, but now Fifa do not want it to be offside. (The Telegraph, June 7)

***

"It's a different ball, obviously... It's more like a volleyball, it's very light, moves a lot in the air. It's got a plastic case around it so when it's wet it's not ideal for goalkeepers... They're bringing out new balls all the time. It's not goalkeeper-friendly this one." England goalkeeper Paul Robinson (BBC Sport, June 7)

***

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

South London Press makes my day

Gotta love the South London Press. I hadn't bought our local paper for a while, but I broke my fast yesterday and thank Livingstone I did. In the latest edition, the bottom right hand corner of page 2 shows a picture of a cheery-looking bald man, under the heading "South London Press Makes My Day". A few paras underneath explain why Andy Cunningham, retired retail manager and now tireless community campaigner from Battersea (for it is he) feels the SLP makes his day.

Above Andy's smiling face, we have the following headlines: Raver dies after taking ecstasy. 50 flee block fire. Cops cheat death by shotgun. Teen chased and stabbed. Woman, 81, loses legs in lorry horror.

Sixteen pages on, the diary features a piece about how the forthcoming Lambeth Country Show was marred last year by an influx of prostitutes after dark who used the tents and marquees as "makeshift brothels". To quote the article's closing line: "Only in Lambeth."

Friday, June 02, 2006

The destroyer of chicken

On the way back from drinks, me and housemate Jamie head in to Millennium Chicken, our local fried chicken haunt. The smiley south Indian man behind the counter greets us cheerily, recognising us both as frequent visitors. This is a bit worrying: in the health stakes, this shit makes Turkey Twizzlers look like salad.

"The usual? Chickenburger and chips?" the man asks Jamie.
"I'm not eating tonight," says Jamie.
"I'll have two chicken and chips please," I say. I'm a bit drunk. He nods and pours some frozen chips in the deep fryer.
"You haven't been in here for a long time," says the man to Jamie.
"I was in here last night, but you weren't!" counters Jamie.
"Ah!" says the man, happily. It's as if this is the job he was born to do. He's so happy.

While the chip fry, we find out the chicken man's name. It is Shiva.

"Isn't Shiva a Hindu god?" wonders Jamie.
"Yep, one of the top three isn't it?" I say.
"Yes, there is Brahma..." begins Shiva.
"The creator!" I shout triumphantly.
"Yes! Very good sir! And Vishnu..."
"The preserver!" I know my stuff.
"And Shiva, the destroyer."
"So you're the destroyer then?"
"Yes, ha ha ha."
"What do you destroy? Chicken?" asks Jamie. We all laugh.

The man hands me the food, happier than ever. Me and Jamie cross the road, with the chicken.