Sunday, August 27, 2006

Funny how?

The Godfather was on Film4 last night; I'd forgotten how funny it was. Don Corleone's weary resignation as he receives a parade of well-wishers with favours to ask is hilarious, and Marlon Brando's face after the famous disembodied horse head scene is a comedy masterclass.

But the funniest bit comes when Michael Corleone is hiding out in the Sicilian countryside and is seen taking a stroll with the local mafia don:

Michael: Where are all the men?
Don Tomassino: Dead from vendettas.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Abstruser musings

This is totally cool: my friend Poet Jamie was interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme this morning. The feature covered the rather ingenious issue of how climate change will affect poetry and they wanted to ask a proper stanza-man what the answer was.

Jamie did a sterling job, reeling off some Chaucer in middle English without breaking a sweat and namechecking Coleridge's ace Frost at Midnight, which we both studied at school - with most believing mind - for A-level. His words fell on mine ear most like articulate sounds of things to come.

Listen to the interview here

(If you don't have Realplayer, this clip will be as inaudible as dreams: download Realplayer here)

More Wilkes poetry

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


On Saturday a great thing happened. Then a terrible thing happened. Then I got drunk.

Great thing: my good friend Tom got married to his girlfriend Dom. Being non-religious types, the couple made sure the ceremony was churchless and hymnless, and so the events of the day took place in a still-operational mill just outside Bath. We got the bride walking down the aisle to The Beatles' All You Need Is Love, the father of the groom reading an Apache Wedding Blessing and the happy newlyweds walking out to the uplifting tones of Primal Scream's Movin' On Up.

Tom is known for his tendency to blub at anything (the previous wedding he'd been too, he’d been in floods of tears, despite having never even met the bridge or groom) but he managed to hold it together, following a shaky start. They were married!

After the ceremony, there was a delicious sit-down meal, a raucous barn dance and that wedding staple, the drunken disco. But before those things happened, there was the throwing of the bouquet. The bride stood on a balcony surrounded by excited males, while about 15 young ladies gathered on the road below.

I stood to one side, half watching. Then the bouquet was tossed and it flew through the air like a… well, like a bouquet of flowers. Amid the scramble, I didn’t see who got it. We now come to the terrible thing. The dust cleared and I saw what had happened. Sarah had caught the bouquet.

Robbie, the Geordie usher with a booming voice, spotted me and boomed, "Will looks terrified!" A number of people turned and looked at me. Their laughter was loud. Tom's dad walked up and shook me by the hand, cruelly asking when the big day was going to be. Sarah shuffled, over, shamefaced. In case she thought I hated her or something, I gave her a kiss: "Don't, Will!" she said. "They might think… y'know…"

The gags, inevitably, continued for the entire day.

As the night drew to its rowdy close, we all boarded the bus which was to take us back to Bath town centre. As I walked to my seat, I heard a quiet but mocking 'ner-ner ner-ner nerr' singsong voice: "You're getting married." I continued down the aisle. Down the aisle. Gah.

After the architectural splendour of Bath, the hay bales and barn dancing of Priston Mill, I arrive home in Stockwell to find a pile of washing up and what appears to be a bottle of piss lying on our roof terrace. Ah, it's good to be back.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Church sign generator

Waste valuable time making your own at

Houston, we have a problem

This feels like it can't be true, but there's a story emerging that Osama bin Laden was obsessed with the US singer Whitney Houston. This is according to the autobiography of a former mistress of the terrorist

Bin Laden also talked about the possibility of killing Houston's husband Bobby Brown, says Kola Boof, who wrote the book.

"He said that he had a paramount desire for Whitney Houston and although he claimed music was evil, he spoke of some day spending vast amounts of money to go to America and try to arrange a meeting with the superstar," Boof writes.

Bin Laden, she adds, would "ramble on" about his favourite TV shows, The Wonder Years, Miami Vice and MacGyver.

What a story! It can't be true! More here

Stockwell flats: panographies

How? What? Huh?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This is the fuchsia

Not completely clear on how the whole fuchsia affair started, but as these things so often do, it arose from a drunken conversation. My friend India Chris started talking about how he wanted a t-shirt that said "fuchsia" on it and we started coming up with stupid fuchsia related puns. All was forgotten, until last week, when I decided the time had come for me to start designing the fuchsia range of t-shirts.

I haven't discussed this with Chris, but I see the fuchsia t-shirts being a highly culty word of mouth thing. For yer average non-Goose reading droid, it'll start when they see some cool kid wearing one, and they'll think nothing of it. Then a few months later they'll see a very different one, but realise it is somehow connected. You know there's something happening, but you don’t know what it is. After a few more sightings, Mr Jones'll Google it, and find a range of fantastic fuchsia t-shirts, available to buy from The Electric Goose. (Obviously I'm too lazy to actually carry this through, but anyway.)

For those who've bemoaned the lack of visuals on this blog recently, eat this: I've mocked up eight designs for the first season of t-shirts, and I'll be publishing one every day for the next, er, week. Here's the first.

Fuchsia #1

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Berners lies

Found out the other day, amazingly, that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, lived in my home town, Wimborne, back in 2001. Not only that, but he lived in Colehill, the actual part of Wimborne I lived in during my teenage years.

In case you don't know who Berners-Lee is, he's the British scientist credited with inventing the world wide web. Which is quite impressive really. Well done him.

Anyway, I was so overcome by this piece of information that I made up some 'facts' about Berners-Lee, in the style of the recent Chuck Norris forwards.

1. Berners-Lee is so computer savvy, Bill Gates doesn't know what he's on about half the time.

2. Instead of having a middle finger on his right hand Berners-Lee has a 2GB USB key.

3. Berners-Lee has read everything on the internet. Twice.

4. Berners-Lee's computer is so clever, it can walk to the shops and buy crisps for him.

5. If you abuse the internet, Berners-Lee will get it to roundhouse you in the face using only one line of HTML.

6. Berners-Lee has wireless and bluetooth capabilities.

7. When Berners-Lee walks out of a PC World superstore, all the computers follow him out.

8. You're only online because Berners-Lee lets you online.

9. A Google search is actually just a list of web pages Berners-Lee likes.

10. Justin Timberlake's surname only exists because someone mispronounced 'Tim Berners-Lee'.

NB None of the above facts are true.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"This city desert"

Made Sarah a "you're moving to London" CD this week – she's got a flat in Archway and a job in Brixton for September - but when I'd finished compiling it, I realised there were some really anti-London lyrics in there. I hope she doesn't get the wrong message. Here are the tracks, followed by some of the deliciously depressing lyrics.

1. Ldn – Lily Allen
"A fella looking dapper, but he's sitting with a slapper / Then I see it's a pimp and his crack whore"

2. Chelsea Morning – Joni Mitchell

3. Whippin' Piccadilly - Gomez

4. London Calling – The Clash

5. Upon Westminster Bridge – Half Man Half Biscuit

6. Come Back to Camden - Morrissey
"Where taxi drivers never stop talking / Under slate-grey Victorian sky"

7. London Loves – Blur
"London loves / The way people just fall apart / London loves / The way you just don't stand a chance"

8. Mornington Crescent – Belle and Sebastian

9. London Still – The Waifs
"Today I dream of home and not of London any more"

10. Blue Room in Archway – Boo Radleys

11. The Only Living Boy in New Cross – Carter USM
"Hello, good evening, welcome, to nothing much"

12. Mile End - Pulp
"It's a mess alright / yes it's Mile End" (and the entire song)

13. Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
"People so busy, make me feel dizzy…"

14. Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
"This city desert makes you feel so cold / It's got so many people, but it's got no soul"

15. London's Burning – The Clash
"London's burning / With boredom now"

16. Chelsea Girls – Nico

P.S. Yes, I know, there are three songs here which aren't actually about London. Boo hoo.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006



Today is the one-year anniversary of this blog. This also happens to be the 200th post, which is pretty good going, I think. And: it just about coincides with us finally getting the internet in our flat, so you can now probably expect even more frequent posting.

In honour of this happy day, I present my ten favourite posts so far, in no particular order. Oh, and you can vote for your favourite in the right hand column.

Swimming with Sharks
In which I get lambasted by a Welshman for wanting to risk my life.

The death of Mishima / the birth of new Hula Hoops
Musings on the suicide of a Japanese writer and a new breed of crisps.

We'll always hate Paris
More bitching about housemate's good fortune.

An A to Z of 24
Twenty-six alphabetical observations about the hallowed TV show. Could almost pass as, like, a real article.

The Sun says... Phwoar!
Britain's most popular newspaper gets the Goose treatment.

The story of Henry and the red shirt
How I became haunted by a boy called Henry and his red shirt.

Last Morroco-related post, I promise
I'm actually really pleased with these pictures.

The shapes of Rothko
In which your correspondant goes to an art gallery and feels a bit queasy. That title was a pun on 'The Grapes of Wrath' by the way.

The Stockwell Flats
The flats looking utterly tasty. The post that started it all...

Don't write, speak or blink
A game of chess leads to a round of competitive anecdote-telling.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Who's new, Pussycat?

The Pussycat Dolls plan to recruit a new member via a US talent search show.

CW entertainment boss Dawn Ostroff said: "At its core, this show goes beyond just finding a new Pussycat Doll - it's about female empowerment, self-discovery and personal transformation."

I'm not sure I have enough sarcasm in me to comment on this (and I do have a fair amount at my disposal). Indeed, is there even enough sarcasm in the entire world to provide a suitable riposte?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Terse nurse

Received a letter from Stockwell surgery a while back telling me it was time for an asthma test, so I booked an appointment with the nurse. She didn't even look up as I walked in and sat down. First question, an abrupt, "Have you got your inhalers?" "No," I said unrepentantly. I don’t normally have to bring them and nobody told me to bring them. "You should bring your inhalers for asthma check-ups," she said. "Right," I said. Inside my head, I thought: you invited me here! I’m doing you a favour!

The nurse then patronisingly explained to me how to use an inhaler. I found out I'd been doing it right for the last 18 years, so that was good. After we'd gone through various questions about my health and the session’s climax, the peak flow test, I made the silly mistake of asking whether I could be fixed up with some prescription hayfever tablets.

Looking at me like I was crazy, she asked me if I'd tried Clarityn. I started to speak but was interrupted by her telling me they were more expensive if you get them by prescription. I began to explain that you actually get a month’s worth of tablets for £6 on prescription, whereas if you just buy them straight from the chemist, the same price will only get you a week’s worth. She interrupted me while I was explaining this, but I carried on talking anyway.

After a battle of wills, I eventually got my prescription. As I got up to leave I decided it would be a good idea to get her name so I could try to avoid her in the future. Glancing at the sign on the door as I walked out, I clocked her name. Nurse Florence. And they say you can't get irony on the NHS.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Time Trumpet

Armando Iannucci's Time Trumpet starts tonight at 10pm on BBC2. It's a great concept – a nostalgia show set in 2031, where people reminisce and comment about today and all that followed. Satire filtered through a, well, time trumpet.

There are a few taster clips around, but the best is the one entitled "Dale Winton Suicide Bomb". I laughed my arse off. Find it here.

More clips here

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Twenty songs

A list. The twenty most played songs on my iPod. What can it mean?

1. The Late Greats – Wilco
2. Stupid and Shallow – The Futureheads
3. Honky Tonk Women – The Rolling Stones
4. You're No Rock N’ Roll Fun – Sleater-Kinney
5. Holiday – Green Day
6. Talk Talk Talk – The Ordinary Boys
7. Come Back Little Sheba (Outtake) – Patti Smith
8. Hittin' On Nothing – The Detroit Cobras
9. Be Mine – REM
10. My Sherona Formed a Band – Art Brut feat. Spoiler Boy
11. Tiny Spark – Brendan Benson
12. All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
13. Waiter at the Station – Willy Mason
14. Home – Zero 7
15. Woman's Realm – Belle and Sebastian
16. Heavy Metal – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
17. Constant Sorrow Hollaback Girl – DJ Erb
18. American Idiot – Green Day
19. A Little Soul – Pulp
20. Fire In My Heart – Super Furry Animals

I've listened to the Wilco song a whopping 27 times. That reminds me. There was a task on Big Brother about a month back in which the housemates were each given an MP3 player with three songs. They were blindfolded and each had to dance on the spot with their headphones on while the songs played on repeat. The winner of the task was the one who danced on the spot the longest.

Welsh 18-year-old Glyn managed to dance to the same three songs for a total of NINE AND A HALF HOURS. If we take each song to be five minutes long (though they were probably shorter), he listened to each around 40 times. Even more shocking: one of those songs was MC Hammer's Can't Touch This. Hammer says the words 'can't touch this' around 25 times in that song. You do the math.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tube analysis

Thought my London readers might enjoy this passage from David Mitchell's excellent Ghostwritten, which I finished at the weekend. So here it is.

As the fine denizens of London town know, each tube line has a distinct personality and range of mood swings. The Victoria Line, for example, breezy and reliable. The Jubilee Line, the young disappointment of the family, branching out to the suburbs, eternally having extensions planned, twisting round to Greenwich, and back under the river out east somewhere. The District and Circle Line, well, even Death would rather fork out for a taxi if he’s in a hurry. Crammed with commuters for King’s Cross or Paddington, and crammed with museum-bound tourists who don’t know the craftier short-cuts, it's as bad as how I remember Tokyo. I had a professor once who asked us to prove that the Circle Line really does go in a circle. Nobody could. I was dead impressed at the time. Now what impresses me is that he'd persuaded someone to pay him to come up with that sort of tosh. Docklands Light Railway, the noveau riche neighbour, with its Prince Regent, West India Quay and its Gallions Reach and its Royal Albert. Stentorian Piccadilly wouldn’t approve of such artyfartyness, and nor would his twin uncle, Bakerloo. Central, the middle-aged cousin, matter-of-fact, direct, no forking off or going the long way round. That's about it for the main lines, except the Metropolitan which is too boring to mention, except that it’s a nice fuschia colour and you take it to visit the dying.