Saturday, September 30, 2006

Welcome to the neighbourhood

Bit of a Saturday morning surprise for me. I walk out the front door, iPod-clad, listening to Arthur Grimiaux's sublime rendition of Mozart's Violin Concerto in G major. I open the door and the stink hits me. Someone's shat on our doorstep. There's a messy thick slab of shit smeared on the tiles outside the front door, covered in flies, which spring up as I come out.

I skip over it and make my way to the Post Office, checking other people's doorways on the way to see if they got hit too. They're all offensively clean. Maybe we were the victims of a racist attack from BNP members? But then, I'm white, and so is everyone else in the other flats. Perhaps someone from Flat 1 or 3 is responsible, laying it down as some kind of totemistic warning to burglars? (I'm thinking back to the bottle of piss incident). But then I get back home and see the discarded pair of tracksuit bottoms lying forlornly next to our bins.

***

I don't understand why people dislike Chris Martin, the Coldplay singer. I see why some might hate the music (though I don't), but as a human being, Martin always comes across as witty, friendly and – most strikingly – still both surprised and grateful to find himself in the position he's reached.

Martin, who's appearing in next week's episode of Extras, is responsible for one of my favourite quips of recent times. On Ricky Gervais's Video Podcast 4 (free from iTunes), the comedian is asking him serious of spurious questions ("Now, you like to buy clothes made in third world sweatshops because they're cheaper. Do you prefer Chinese or Indian-made stuff?"). Martin's answers are all fantastically deadpan, but this is the best:

Gervais: Now, at the Conservative Party conference a few years ago, you made a rousing speech, saying that if Labour banned foxhunting, you'd leave the country. You did leave, but now you're back. Isn't that hypocritical?
Martin: I just came back to get some stuff. To get my hunting gear. I came back to get two guns and a knife.

***

Anyway, I'm off to clear up the shit now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Barbie world

Barbie's a bit topical at the moment, after Christie's sold a collection of 4,000 of the dolls yesterday for a total of £111,384. Sorry to go all quotey on you again, but the Wikipedia entry features some fascinating stuff on the issue of ethnicity and the Barbie doll.

Apparently the first of Barbie's black friends came out in 1967 and was called 'Colored Francie', but was withdrawn because of racial tensions at the time. The first African-American Barbie ("Black Barbie") followed 13 years later.

The inventors of Barbie, Mattel, originally created 'black Barbie' by simply filling the 'white Barbie' mould with dark plastic. But since then, they've atoned by developing "ethnically accurate head moulds" for their non-white dolls.

And finally (from Wikipedia):

In 1997, Mattel joined forces with Nabisco to launch a cross-promotion of Barbie with Oreo cookies. The toy producer introduced "Oreo Fun Barbie", marketed as the perfect after-school playmate, someone with whom little girls could play after class and share "America's favorite cookie". As had become the custom, Mattel manufactured both a white version and a black version.

Unfortunately for Mattel, its product developers were unaware that in the African-American community, Oreo has another meaning. It is a derogatory term for a person perceived to be, like the chocolate sandwich cookie, black on the outside and white on the inside - someone with an ambivalent racial identity, who does not identify with African American culture, or who is perceived as a "race traitor" or a self-loathing black person.

The black doll hit the market with a thud, production on it ceased, and Mattel quickly recalled all unsold stock.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fine and Danandy

I'm rather sceptical about Paul 'Desperate' Danan's Wikipedia entry, which has one or two unlikely elements to it. Highlights follow: [NB I've censored the libellous bits]

Paul Danan (born in Essex) is a British actor who played Sol Patrick in the UK teen soap opera Hollyoaks. To millions, Paul is a legend. He likes to live life at 100 miles an hour and openly **** *******...

He recently presented a British Television series entitled **** *** *****' ITV2. In the show he ***** various ************ ***** to the limit and dates girls he meets. Paul has been in America working on a new pilot comedy sitcom. Paul is playing support in a comedy sitcom starring Bill Cosby and Minnie Driver. The pilot shows have been well received and the show will officially start in Febuary 2007.

In a bid to boost flagging ratings, Paul was thrown into ITV1's Love Island for a second time but was voted off on the 7th August. During the show's run, he admitted to being allergic to radishes.

Paul has used Love Island, and Love Island: Aftersun to launch his new rap career as Randy McDanan.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

thelondonpaperwars

"Get yourself a proper paper! Proper newspapers here for 50p!" shouts the man selling the Evening Standard outside Euston station. With the recent release of both Standard-offshoot London Lite and new kid on the block thelondonpaper, and distributors on every major street corner and office thoroughfare, the evening newspaper wars are well underway.

Because there's only a London Lite seller on my particular office route, I often take it, though I do frequently hanker after the beautifully-designed and stupidly-named thelondonpaper, a shrewd cross between the Guardian and Funday Times, with an interactive bent (you can vote off columnists you don’t like) and fun colours (purple! green! other colours!). But when I’m taking a different route through town, I often get both, which is probably deeply annoying for the sales and circulation department of both organs.

Last night I discovered that my friend Rick gets not one, but four free papers a day – he picks up both the aforementioned newbies in the evening, a Metro for the tube in the morning and City AM, a free rag for city business types. He apparently goes for the latter because he feels sorry for the largely-ignored vendors, and gets worried they might feel discouraged. And well they might, facing such fierce competition.

The content of both new freesheets is so very superficial (celebs, gossip, silly news stories), one can't help thinking that if they got any 'liter' (perhaps with the launch of London Very Lite or thelondonpaperlite), they'd probably consist of the words ‘YOU ARE IDIOT’ printed in large letters in the centre of a plain white sheet. Maybe then you’d want a proper paper.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pun of the week

From a Daily Express story about Prince William's visit a new specialist babycare unit:

From heir to maternity


More hot pun action

Anecdotalist

I truly am the anecdote king. Last night I managed to tell an ex-colleague an anecdote about me telling an anecdote (it was the one about meeting Celebrity Big Brother Preston's French ex-girlfriend and immediately launching into the infamously filthy 'Aunt Sally' anecdote). I mentioned this to my friend Darren. "So now you're telling an anecdote about telling an anecdote about telling an anecdote," he said. "That's fucked up."

No place to go

Drinking in a Soho bar last night, I got up to go for a piss, and found an out of order sign on the door of the gents. Didn't seem to be anything wrong with it, and there was nowhere else to relieve myself, so I snuck in. As I was urinating, I could hear the sound of booming hip hop from the bar area and some lyrics wafted past my ears: "...just a rebel with a cause, no place to go..." Strangely prescient.

Lessons learned from... Sleeping Dogs Lie

Never mix monkeys and midgets.

Other lessons learned

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The fate of Atlantis

The Atlantis space shuttle has just landed safely, after a successful 12-day mission. They go up there all the time now. Even Transport for London are getting in on the act - apparently they’re going to extend the East London line into space.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Spare time

Generally I hate Wednesdays, but this one was swell. Finished work at 5 and tubed down to Oxford Circus; I was due to review a film at 6.30 in Soho. Walking round Noho looking for a guitar shop, I spied two hipster with instruments and asked them. They pointed me in the way of a place.

The guy behind the counter, as rude as you'd expect, was on the phone, so his assistant helped me out. I got some electric guitar strings (I have highly corrosive sweat, meaning I have to change them frequently) and he asked the guy on the phone how much they cost, and tilled it up. Then I annoyingly decided to get acoustic strings too. He had to ask which ones were best, then totallled it up. Then I realised I needed a cable. He didn't know where the cables were, so had to ask the guy. I picked one and he totalled it up again. Then I spied the plectrums (plectra?). Unfortunately he didn't know how much they cost (even the plectra! How humiliating!), so had to ask the rude guy the price yet again.

I headed along to the new Fopp on Tottenham Court road with my paraphernalia. The shop's massive, so big that they have a budget ambient minimalism section. Another nice touch: their 24 box sets cost £24. I bought R.E.M.'s Life's Rich Pageant on CD for £5. You can't pay any more than that for something you already have on tape, it'd be incredibly extragvagent.

Then on to the press screening. Went up to the screening room bar, where there were some highly pretentious movie reviewers hanging out and talking about who won the Oscar for best supporting actor in 1996, and so on. I sat down and did the London Lite sudoku. After a bit, we went in; the film was called Sleeping Dogs Lie and it's a low-budget indie romcom about a girl who once **** a dog * **** *** and her dilemmas about whether she should tell her fiance about what she did. Weirdly, it was directed by the guy who played Zed in the Police Academy films, who goes by the odd name of Bobcat Goldthwait. It was rather good. (Trailer here.)

After the film I dashed to an empty late night coffee shop and scribbled out some review notes with a pot of tea. I quite liked that image of myself, I should have taken a picture. Would've been better with cigarettes, of course.

As I walked to the Underground, popping into a few shops on the way (book shopping at 8.30pm! Thank you London!), I saw a guy riding a bike going down down Oxford Street with his girlfriend sitting on the crossframe, both laughing, and I felt a wave of happiness.

Did the Metro sudoku on the tube home - finished it by Pimlico, yesssss - and stopped off at Millennium fried chicken back in Stockwell. There was a delivery man in there wanting £60, but the boys didn't have the money for him as he was a day early. "Problem with The Man?" I asked Shiva. "Yes - normally they are come Thursdays then now they are come today," he said sounding unperturbed. I vaguely considered offering to pay the £60, thus earning myself around 25 chicken meals on credit. But that could be highly dangerous to my health. "Nandri, Shiva," I said as I took my meal and walked out. The chicken shop is one of the few times that London lets me feel part of a community, as well as allowing a short burst of linguistic posing, so I relish it. "Vannakam!" I shout, to Shiva's delight. A few words of Tamil goes a long way in this crazy city.

I got home. Jamie was watching a programme on More4 presented by transvestite potter Grayson Perry about how people spend their spare time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cascading Style Sheets

A band to look out for: CSS. They combine the goodness of Yeah Yeah Yeahs with the fun of Helen Love, but from Brazil. They'd be one of the "internet phenomenon" things if their name wasn't an acronym for a stylesheet language used to described a page's presentation in HTML (meaning you risk being launched into geekland if you Google them). It actually stands for Cansei De Ser Sexy, Portuguese for "I'm tired of being sexy". Much better.

If you want an iTunes taster, the standout track from their self-titled album is Music Is My Hot Hot Sex. Much like Madonna's Music, except cool and young.

Funny boiler

When gearing up to cook rice or pasta, I always boil the water in the saucepan, rather than doing it in the kettle then pouring it in. This seems to be anathema to those I am intimate with (i.e. the people I've seen cooking). But I have no qualms about using kettles for the purposes tea or cup o' soup. Am I strange?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Blair's placard hell*

It's been a tough September for Tony Blair, beginning with a whirlwind of press speculation about when he would leave office and followed by MPs resigning in protest, a terrible reception in Lebanon and a TUC walkout. They're not the first protests he's had to deal with though...

Read full article


* Oblique pun on Packard Bell (for no particular reason)

Junk

Nice little article in Private Eye this week:

Another day, another apocalyptic headline from the Independent. "THE JUNK MOUNTAIN" is the cue for the usual liberal outrage, this time over the proliferation of junk mail - "the vast majority of which is discarded unopened."

Bemoaning the environmental consequences of each household in Britain "now receiving the equivalent of 18 [junk] items a week", the Indie quoted Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, who "has called on ministers to 'name and shame' the most prolific companies, to make unsolicited post and leaflets socially unacceptable".

But what is that slipping out of the same copy of the paper? Could it be two unsolicited commercial fliers, each no doubt destined for the bin?

It surely could.

"Most actresses are Satan worshippers"

An American gets stressed about someone who did a 'fake' video diary on YouTube. Possibly the geekiest thing ever. Hilarious.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Booker Prize 2006: the shortlist

Told you my prediction radar was broken. I've read four of them too, so I really should have known better (NB: Professor John Sutherland, last year's Booker judges' chairman: "I am gobsmacked"). Grenville's my favourite of the bunch so far.

The Night Watch – Sarah Waters
Good fun, but not as rollicking as Fingersmith, and contains fewer lesbians.

Mother's Milk - Edward St Aubyn
Has had pretty stonking reviews, sounds like it's quite posh, Hollinghurst style.

The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai
Daughter of Anita Desai. Flips between Arundhati-Rushdie language games and low-key eccentric Indian character funness.

The Secret River - Kate Grenville
Colonialism in the Australian outback from the bastard English colonialist's perspective, but in quite a subtle and unusual way.

Carry Me Down - MJ Hyland
Like Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; not quite as profound, but impossibly readable.

In The Country of Men - Hisham Matar
Don't know anything about this, except that it's his (her?) debut, so well done Hisham (Herham?).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Booker Prize 2006: predilection for prediction

Some time ago, I managed to predict both the Booker and Mercury prizewinners two years running. One of my prophecies was even in print: "Still, Hollinghurst'll be laughing when he picks up the Booker later this year". Yessssssss.

But of late, my radar has gone wonky. To Jamie: "It's seriously unlikely that the Arctic Monkeys will win it. This is the Mercury, that wouldn't happen. Hawley'll get it." Noooooo.

So it is with some trepidation that I give you my Booker Prize shortlist prediction (the real thing is announced tomorrow). I've only read nine of the 19-strong longlist, so I'm not completely in the know, but I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest:

Theft - Peter Carey
So Many Ways to Begin - Jon McGregor
The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud
Black Swan Green - David Mitchell
The Perfect Man - Naeem Murr
The Testament of Gideon Mack - James Robertson

With Peter Carey to win.

Name change

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly is an awesome name for a band, and 19-year-old Sam Duckworth (for it is he) should be applauded for his chutzpah. But I think he should seriously consider changing it to Get Bread, Make Sandwich, Eat.

Excitement, brief confusion, anticlimax

Rather excitingly, at 3.58pm today, this blog had its 10,000th hit. Who was the lucky visitor? They should get a prize!

Looking at the log, it actually appears to be, er, me. I was at work and I needed to find an article that I knew was linked to from here, so, uh, yeah. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Close listening: Devil Woman by Cliff Richard

0.01 I don't care what anyone says, this is one of the coolest intros of all time. That apocalyptic keyboard, wow! A masterclass in how to turn one repeated note into a totally viable riff by changing the backing chords and chucking in a descending bass line. In the style of Blur's Beetlebum. I bet Albarn et Al(ex James) would be flattered to know they're being compared to the likes of Cliff Richard.

0.17 "I've had nothing but bad luck / Since the day I had the cat at my door" sings Cliff, setting up the recurring feline theme. Funny, as a Christian, you wouldn't expect him to be so superstitious. Well, not in such a pagan way.

0.25 "So I came into you, sweet lady…" Oo-er! A rather unchaste admission from one so religious.

0.35 "Crystal ball on the table / Showing the future, the past". Don't most crystal balls just show the future? Maybe he was confusing it with a television set.

0.41 "Same cat with them evil eyes…" I told you the cat would be back.

0.45 "And I knew it was a spell she cast." By this stage, I think Cliff may be taking the anthropomorphism a bit too far.

0.49 Cliff does a highly sexual "UHH" grunt as a lead in to the chorus. Mildly disturbing.

1.03 "Beware the devil woman / She's gonna get you - from behind". This line gave me major pause for rather jumbled thought. The emphasis in the song is that the being in question is a woman, with devilish elements. But the whole 'getting you from behind' thing makes me think more of the devil himself, because of the 'get behind me Satan' mantra. (If it was a woman getting you from behind, I imagine a screaming harpy jumping on my back and clawing at my eyelids. Which would be unpleasant, but not life-threatening, and surely not worth writing a three-and-a-half minute pop song about.) Is Cliff in fact saying that Satan is female? And what's the point of the 'get behind me Satan' thing if she's going to get you from behind anyway? Another alternative: is this whole thing just a big homophobic rant?

1.10 If Cliff's lyrical warning about cats wasn't enough, surely the post-chorus wailing guitar note and spooky 'woooooo' backing vocals will warn you off.

1.31 "I drank the potion she offered me / I found myself on the floor". Knowing Cliff and his clean-living ways, she probably offered him a shandy, or small glass of sherry.

1.42 A strange thought occurs to me. I bet Cliff sings this when he has the Blairs over to stay in his house in Barbados! And I bet he points to Cherie every time he sings the line "Then I looked in those big green eyes"!

1.47 Another possibility for the chorus: is there an unheard comma here? "Beware the devil, woman / She's gonna get you"; perhaps Cliff is warning all women about the dangers of Satan (who is also female). Many levels.

2.13 A series of one-note bleeps, reminiscent of mid-90s space-rock cowboys Scott 4.

2.22 "Be careful of the neighbourhood strays." More cats. Ha!

2.29 "Of a lady with long black hair" Cherie?

2.30 "Trying to win you with her feminine ways". Cliff brilliantly pronounces it 'fem-in-nein', which is unintentionally hilarious. If you take any message away from this song, it's surely to look out for the evil 'feminein' ways of green-eyed Goth temptresses, like Cherie Blair.

More close listening

Monday, September 11, 2006

String in the tail

Got an email today from a friend (who shall remain anonymous) which finished thusly:
"NB I woke up on Sunday morning, went to the toilet and found that I had a cheese string down my boxer shorts, still in its wrapper."

All apologies

Some recent highlights from The Guardian's clarifications and corrections columns:

Sir Charles Mackerras is not, as we described him in a review, page 36, September 4, "well into his 80s". He is hardly in them at all. He was 80 in November last year.

In Racism is an everyday reality etc, page 24, G2, September 4, we said that the main character in the television series Life on Mars is "a 1970s cop thrown into the modern world". It is the other way round: he is a modern cop thrown into a 1970s world.

A correction, page 34, September 2, correcting the spelling of canvas, in a report about Munch's painting The Scream, was, it turns out, academic. The painting is on cardboard.

In an article headed Britain's new foodie paradise (G2 page 20, September 1), we implied that the restaurant critic Jay Rayner believed the article's hypothesis: that Marlow is becoming the country's new gastronomic hot-spot, ahead of Ludlow. Though Rayner did say the town was "shaping up nicely" as quoted in the piece, when asked whether he thought Marlow was the new Ludlow, his initial answer was "How about 'no'." This quote was not used in the finished piece. Apologies.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Saturday night tableau

I'm in a working men's club in Widnes at the post-wedding party of an ex-lesbian who my girlfriend met in Australia, and a quiet tattooed skinhead, who is wearing a white suit and writhing around on the floor wrestling with one of his new wife's lesbian friends, as various family members look on.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Close listening: I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher

0.01 It's Groundhog Day! Seriously, will you ever be able to hear those opening bars without thinking of Bill Murray under tightly wrapped covers in that B&B?

0.06 Cher's droning monotone kicks in. "They say we're young and we don't know…" I don't believe Cher was ever young. Even when she was 9, she was a woman.

0.16 Sonny interjects: "Well I don't know if all that's true…" Sonny doesn't think Cher's young either.

0.26 A clarinet! How many mainstream pop songs do you know with one of those? Captain Beefheart doesn't count.

0.35 "They say our love won't pay the rent". They're right! It won't! Listen to their sound financial advice, you fools!

0.39 "Before it's earned our money's all been spent." I know it's the '60s, but that really is no way to live your life.

1.05 The strange and very hippy middle eight. "I got flowers in the Spring / I got you to wear my ring," coos Sonny foolishly.

1.18 Cher cuts in, incredibly out of tune. "And when I'm sad, you're a clown..." But she sings it without the comma, so it's like she's saying she's sad that her lover is a complete fucking clown.

1.21 She continues: "And when I get scared, you're always around." Which actually sounds terrifying. Like her boyfriend is some kind of omnipresent puppy.

1.42 "Then put your little hand in mine," suggests Sonny soppily. On the words 'hand' and 'mine', we realise just to what extent Sonny is impersonating Bob Dylan. It's shocking. Though Dylan would never write or sing such a drippy lyric.

2.01 There's this weird instrumental couple of bars, when it sounds like someone should be singing or playing a solo, but has forgotten. Possibly everyone's still shocked by Cher's out-of-tune singing, or Sonny's shameless Dylanising.

2.11 Sonny sings a quiet and subtle line - he clearly wants to do a building crescendo to the end (à la Oh Come All Ye Faithful). Cher doesn't realise that this will require the singers to start quietly. She lets rip with a ridiculously loud and harsh slug of a line.

2.17 Cher takes control, apparently stealing Sonny's bits. No more alternating lines – the woman wants all of them. Now it's like she's singing the words of love to herself. "I got you to talk to me," she continues. No reply from Sonny there.

2.28 She's still going. "I got you / I won't let go" seems to sum it up.

2.38 The song ends with the devoted pair singing that last grammatically dubious "I got you babe".

2.45 No it doesn't. It comes back. Something approaching the crescendo Sonny was clearly hoping for at 2.11 begins to take place, but it fades out even before it's come back. We're left loving it all and hating it all, but certainly wanting to hear it again. Frustrating and brilliant.

"Life GPS"

Charlie Brooker in The Guardian today writes about how he'd like a GPS implanted in his head which, instead of giving directions, would tell him "what to do next". And to top it all, the device would speak with the voice of Jack Bauer. Read it here

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Miscellany

Is it me, or does the guy who played kitchen hand Everton in Chef bear a striking resemblance to one, or both, of the Outhere Brothers? Or did I just imagine it?

***

Saw a large vehicle this evening the size and shape of a mobile library. It was a deep purple colour and had the words "Net Navigator" painted on the side. I wanted to stop it and tell the drivers "Guys, you don't need one of those to surf the internet! You just need a laptop and a phone line!" I could just imagine the poor fools driving all the way to California just so they could access an American website.

***

Some embarrassing recent iTunes purchases:

Jesus He Knows Me - Genesis
My Sharona - The Knack
I Got You Babe - Sonny and Cher
Devil Woman - Cliff Richard
Happy Together - The Turtles

Think I'm going to have to listen to four hours of Joy Division to purge myself of this string of naffness.

***

After Blair's announcement this afternoon, Sky News had up on screen a list of 'hot political newcomers'. On the right of the screen, Jon Cruddas, on the left, Ed Balls. There's a filthy joke in there somewhere, screaming to get out.

***

After waking up this morning with the word 'liminal' in my head (don't know why), I put the music on and got the best lyric I've heard in ages. By the brilliant Super Furry Animals, from their song Hello Sunshine:

"I'm a minger
You’re a minger too.
So come on minger
I want to ming with you."

***

My review of the new album by power-pop indie-kids Silver Sun is online - have a look (spot the Back to the Future reference).

Rules for eating

From Edmund, something to read at lunchtime, about lunch. Find out how to create 'a linear future' from a bagel, and so on.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Steve Irwin RIP

Crikey, it's like Diana all over again. I've deliberately posted this two days after the death of the 'Crocodile Hunter' because I feel it's important we keep the memory of Steve Irwin alive. If we don't, the stingrays have won.

Onward crisping soldiers

A necessary truth: if you don't like salt and vinegar flavoured crisps, multipack purchases become either monotonous, or untenable.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saturday

Due to the paucity of posts of late, I thought I'd document a day in my life in minute detail. I had no idea it would happen like this. But that's life I guess...

(With insincere apologies to Ian McEwan.)

8.51am Wake up, go to toilet and fill empty water bottle.

9am Ponder why I’m unable to lie in any more. I used to be able to sleep for hours and hours. Get annoyed about this.

9.20am Sit up and start reading the next chapter of James Robinson’s The Gospel of Gideon Mack. At the moment this vicar – who is about to go mad after meeting Satan – is talking about long-distance running. I used to run a lot when I was 17, 18, 19. But no more.

9.40am Decide to go for run. Make necessary preparations.

9.45am Walk out the door of the flat and start stretching. Go outside and start running towards Clapham High Street. I'm running! I aim for the Common, but I'm pretty knackered by the time I get there. I run across the Common, go into the library and look through the books. I think it’s just an excuse to have a rest. I walk up the high street then hop on an empty bus which carries me back towards Stockwell.

10.30am Get back. Drink lots of Orange juice. Have shower. Get dressed. Feel quite empowered thanks to the run – like I can have a genuinely productive day. Wow!

11.05am Flick TV on. Music videos are playing on E4. I don't normally watch music videos, but The Smiths' There is a Light that Never Goes Out is playing. Lots of shots of Morrissey and Morrissey look-alikes riding bikes through Salford.

11.10am Make tea and beans on toast.

11.20am Stick on Bob Dylan DVD. Watch it eating beans on toast. Things Have Changed video is fab. It nicely intercuts shots of Dylan singing with scenes from the Wonderboys film, making it look like he's turning into Michael Douglas's character and back. It nicely sums up the role of the artist - both living a life but also outside of life commenting on it. Another great thing about the video: Bob tries to 'do facial expressions'.

11.31am Phone rings. A foreign lady says "Good morning." Pause while I wait for the sell. Realise I'm expected to say 'good morning' before this can proceed. "Good morning," I say. She's trying to get hold of someone whose name I will never be able to spell. Something like, "Mr Dhordonashyenaleandethon". Wrong number, I say and hang up.

11.33am Phone rings again. The woman is crazy! "Who is this? This is the number they give me to ring." We try to work things out, but her poor grasp of English means we don’t really get anywhere. I start to get annoyed that she doesn’t seem to believe I’m not harbouring this Dhordonashyenaleandethon character. "I'm afraid you're going to have to sort this out for yourself," I say. She doesn’t understand. "Goodbye," I say emphatically, and hang up.

11.38am Phone rings again. I wonder whether to answer it. I decide not to.

11.39am I give in and answer it. "I want to speak to Tony."
"There's no Tony here!" I say.
"Dhoni, dhoni."
"No! Wrong number!"
"Okay," she says in a resigned voice.

11.51am Watch more music videos. Radiohead’s Just. Radiohead playing guitars! Those were the days. Then Work It by Missy Elliot - "It's yr fribaderba yep yep".

12.05pm Hear the key in the door. Jamie is back from a night in Glasgow. Work flew him up there to go drinking with XFM people. No, I don't know how he does it either.

12.07pm Try to finish off this review I’m writing. It’s 400 words about the new album by an obscure ambient electronica duo called Infantjoy. Not particularly easy to write.

1.15pm Dan arrives at the flat – we're going to see Onto the Streets, an exhibition of contemporary London street photography in Brixton. Apparently there's a house party later in Marylebone, which I have inexplicably not been invited to.

1.30pm Me, Jamie and Dan leave the house to go to Photofusion ("London's largest independent photography resource centre"). The exhibition is great - particularly the pictures by Nick Turpin and Matt Stuart - but small. We're only there for about 10 minutes. What now? I unwisely suggest the pub.

2.20pm We go to Living and get some beers in. No one has change, so we have to do rounds. Jollity ensues. For three hours.

5.25pm Get to Circle bar to watch England v Andorra. We meet Badger who's annoyed because we're late. He tells us about a recent holiday where missed a flight and had to spend 15 hours at the airport. To survive, he got wrecked on vodka and because of a lack of space, ended up trying to sleep on an air hockey table, loading it up with pound coins because he thought it would be more comfortable with air blowing out the holes. Badger is in the anecdotal zone. Later, Dan to Badger: "So you're onstage in Moulin Rouge getting off with a girl? Shut up! Shut up!"

6.35pm England are winning 5-0. I leave Circle bar and get the tube to Charing Cross. Wow, I'm quite drunk. That's what happens when you drink on an empty stomach, apparently. I'll never learn.

7.05pm Get to Fire and Stone trendy pizza restaurant – we're celebrating Macca's last day in London (he's moving to Bristol). Macca knows I'm pished, so introduces me to people quickly and ushers me away from them so I don't say anything that'll offend them or embarrass him. The restaurant serves pizzas all named after different places in the world. I order a Peking. Service is slow. Spend most of the time talking to someone called Julia about myself. Poor girl.

10.15pm We all split the bill. Ian is livid. "Twenty-three quid for a pizza and a glass of wine?" he rages. I knew this would happen. That's why I had a starter.

10.30pm We walk to Soho and go to a barclub called Lupos. The promised lashings of Bon Jovi are not forthcoming. But the shots of sambuca are. Now I'm really drunk. I tell Macca's brother's girlfriend that I own the single I Like to Move It Move It by Real 2 Real featuring the Mad Stuntman on cassette. She is well impressed. The music begins to get cheesier.

12.58am The DJ plays Johnny B Goode. I phone Dan and yell down the phone "Chuck? Chuck! This is Marvin! Your cousin? Marvin Berry? You know that new sound you’re looking for? Well listen to this!"

1am Most of the group have left, and it’s all gone a bit coupley. Me and Hugh Dennis lookalike James stand at the bar smoking Lucky Strikes. I leave, hoping to head up to Marylebone for a house party. Phone Dan, but he says the party's over. Doh.

1.02am Start drunken dialling while walking down Oxford Street. Phone Sarah, Kearns, Sharma, Birdy and Jamie. None pick up.

1.12am Birdy phones back from a noisy club and yells, "Will! I’m in Po Na Na! In Brighton! Will! I can't hear you! Goodbye!"

1.40am Text from Jamie. "We're back at the flat, have booze & poppers. Expect mess."

2am I get home. I stagger into the kitchen and see Jamie and Eddie and two girls I don't know. Jack Daniels is being drunk and poppers sniffed. I talk shit for about an hour, and lurch around.

3.15am I've sobered up a bit now, though all is relative. Go into the lounge and play the guitar while Run Lola Run plays on the TV. As I watch the flame-haired German running through city streets, I realise that I was doing the same thing 18 hours earlier.

4.02am I say my goodnights to the kitchen revellers, who're trying to work out how to get home. I go to bed.