Sunday, December 31, 2006

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon: Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais
appeared in Night at the Museum with

Ben Stiller
appeared in Meet the Parents with

Robert de Niro
appeared in The Score with

Edward Norton
appeared in Fight Club with

Brad Pitt
appeared in Sleepers with

Kevin Bacon

Don't touch that dilemma

Sometimes life seems so complicated. Then you realise that it's actually incredibly simple.




Inspired by this

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hoomv and Doovde

Channel 4's occasional Comedy Lab series has outed such comedic British luminaries as Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr and Dom Joly. It's also produced a number of programmes which you vaguely remember as being hilarious but which, thanks to the incessant flow of time, sink to the seabed of your subconscious like discarded cigarette lighters. But now everyone in the world is connected together by invisible and highly radioactive internet gamma-waves, we're able to fish out the metaphorical cigarette lighters and see them work their fiery magic all over again. I give you the stunning phone-prankery of Fonejacker.



And subsequently:



Whole episode is here

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Churchspill

Christmas is a time for catching up, and trying to think of things to say. But what to say to people who you haven't seen for several years and who you didn't really know that well in the first place? On Christmas Day itself, I had several odd encounters in the space of just an hour.

As me and my sister are on the way into church, we wander past my old Latin teacher.
"I hear you had to drive home via Basingstoke?" he says to my sister.
"Er, yeah - how did you..." says my sister, quite surprised and clearly confused as to how he could possibly know this.
"That must have been fun," he says sarcastically.
"How did you know I'd driven back via Basingstoke?" she asks.
"Finger on the pulse," I chip in.
"Oh, you know," he says. "I do a bit of networking now and again." He turns to me. In deliberately patronising tone: "Opened your stocking yet?"
"I'm saving it till later," I say, with as much dryness as I can muster.

After the service, we're shuffling our way towards the exit, hampered by old people and ecclesiastical socialites. We slowly pass my old geography teacher, who's standing with a dazed grin on his face.
"Happy Christmas," he says absently. "Are you still an excellent spin bowler?"
"Hello. Happy Christmas. Yes, sure am," I respond.
"I bet you haven't spun a ball in ten years, have you?" he says.
"It's definitely getting near something like that," I reply. He laughs. We carry on shuffling.

There is one more final odd conversational switch to make, as I shake hands with the vicar on the way out.
"Great to see you!" he says kindly. "Still a writer?"
"Yes," I say.
"I saw a film about a writer recently," he says. "Finding Forrester,"
"Oh right," I say. "No, I haven't seen that."
"Writing can be a very lonely life," he says rather sadly. I instinctively pick an inappropriate response.
"Hahahaaaa," I laugh.

Novels of 2006

Having read every single work of fiction published this year several times over, I can now exclusively reveal the five best novels of 2006:

  • The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  • The Perfect Man – Naeem Murr
  • Theft – Peter Carey
  • Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  • The Testament of Gideon Mack – James Robertson

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Films of 2006

Clearly the best movies of the year were...

  • The Departed
  • Volver
  • Brick
  • Casino Royale
  • London to Brighton

Friday, December 22, 2006

Catch that pigeon

Nice bit of cameraphone video action from my old pal Toby. Today, The Electric Goose is STICKING IT TO THE MAN.



Asked if they would be removing the pigeon-tainted food, staff reaction was along the lines of: "Eugh, that's gross, I'm not fucking touching that."


Greggs' online presence

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas message

After the NTL debacle (below), here's something to cheer us all up. It's a festive message from my old sparring partner Tadich, which he sent round on Christmas Eve last year, after a couple of months spent working in Russia:

Subject: счастливый светский праздничный сезон, товарищи!

Greetings, decadent Western Papists. Comrade Tadich here, wishing you a productive secular day of enjoyment. May you drink much vodka and meet all your industrial production targets for the current Five Year Plan.

As usual, I will be spending the day of your repugnant saviour's birth toiling steadily at the Televised Information Dissemination Plant #3314. Do not spare a thought for me, as I labour happily for the good of the republic. I am told by my local soviet that if I exceed my output rating, I qualify for a voucher to receive a new colour television with a vertical hold dial!

Although I cannot be with you for your disgusting imperialist orgy of consumption, I have been informed by my sector kompromat that travel documents have been issued in my name to the Toronto oblast for Jan 30 to Feb 8. I expect to see you all during that period for at least one drink and a confession of who is wrecking the Byelorussian grain quota on pain of testicular electrocution.

In solidarity,
Tadich
Death to Spies!

meNTaL part 2

I get home in time for the NTL man who's due between 12pm and 6pm (as booked last week), and there's a written note explaining that an NTL broadband area fault means there's nothing he can do, and that I should call NTL customer services to cancel the appointment.

I call the NTL engineer on his mobile: he says the fault won't be fixed for a month.

I call NTL customer services and, after ten minutes on hold, tell them I've been told to cancel the engineer. Also that I want compensation for the last three weeks and the coming month. They cancel the appointment and explain that they don't pay out until the problem is fixed (!), so I should call them back then. In the meantime, to find out about the fault, I should call the NTL area fault number.

I call the NTL fault hotline. I explain the problem, and the man tells me that what the engineer didn't know was that the NTL broadband fault in my area has actually now been fixed and that I should turn on my NTL modem. However, the ready light is still flashing. He tells me I need an NTL engineer to look at the NTL modem. There isn't one available till Friday. I ask if I can just have the one that I was supposed to between 12pm and 6pm today. No, he says. Even though it's only 12.30pm now? "Our apologies sir, but the ticket has been cancelled."

I have to say, their incompetence is stunning in its consistency.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Reason, I tried. But reason, she died"

What a song this is. It's called She's Attracted To and it comes courtesy of an exciting beat combination trio known as The Young Knives. The protagonist describes a hellish meeting with his girlfriend's parents which culminates in much shouting and punching; the video reminds me of The Borrowers or something.

"Your dad cornered me in the hallway,
While you were in the loo.
He gave me a right talking to:
He said I was a terrorist!"




A prior watchable media experience
More eye food
Yet more viewable interactivity

Stockwell Flats: Dickens

"Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Stockwell Flats."

Monday, December 18, 2006

meNTaL

Our NTL internet connection has been dreadful over the last week or two. Their service stresses me out. Booked an engineer on the phone on Saturday:

Technical support man: "So just to confirm, the engineer will attend between 12 and 6 on Wednesday. Also, please contact us if you are unable to attend the appointment; as part of NTL company policy if you miss the appointment, we will charge you £10."

Me: "That's interesting, because one of your engineers was booked to come round last week and he missed the appointment. Will you pay me £10?"

[Long silence]

Man: "I'm sorry sir?"

Me: "I booked an engineer before and he didn't turn up. Do I get £10?"

[Pause]

Man: "Please accept our apologies."

Some number crunching: since getting an NTL line, we've spent a total of £4.87 and 84 minutes on phonecalls to technical support. When their stuff breaks, we have to pay them more!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Shoo

Pre-DJ Shadow gig, we're in the pub and Birdy is telling us a story. He was out drinking last week with some friends and they all decided to go to a club. But his pal is wearing brown shoes with white soles, so when they get to the venue, the bouncer thinks he spies a pair of trainers and denies entrance to the motley crew.

They go into a huddle and one of their number comes up with an idea: the brown-shoed reject should go round the corner, take his socks off and put them on over the shoes, in order to hide the offending white soles. So he does so, and comes back to the club.

"You're not coming in," says the bouncer, for the second time.

"Why?" asks the hapless shoe-switcher.

"Because you're wearing your socks over your shoes," says the bouncer, not unreasonably.

Birdy, looking slightly dejected

Friday, December 15, 2006

On The Road / West Wing rules, okay?

Cormac McCarthy's new novel The Road is striking in more ways than one. But let's pare it down to one irrelevant detail, because that's what we do here at The Electric Goose. Yep, I'm talking about McCarthy's use of the word 'okay'.

Just like most road movies or 'road novels', there's not much of a plot to speak of (does anything actually happen in On the Road or Easy Rider? Answer: no.) but the story, such as it is, concerns a man and his young son on a journey through a post-apocalyptic America depleted of resources, trying to survive.

Along the way, there's a lot of sparse, Waiting for Godot-like dialogue but it differs from Samuel Beckett's play, in that the circularity is avoided, in this case by the boy's continual grateful acceptance of his father's plans. Which means many of the short sections end with 'okays'. For example:

You want to stop?
I always want to stop.
We have to be more careful. I have to be more careful.
I know.
We'll stop. Okay?
Okay.
We just have to find a place.
Okay.

And

So when are you going to talk to me again?
I'm talking now.
Are you sure?
Yes.
Okay.
Okay.

These near-monosyllabic chunks of dialogue with their unerring final resolutions capture the hopelessness of their predicament, in which the pair are forced to accept a world where everything is not 'okay'.

***

I wonder if McCarthy has been spending his time immersing himself in The West Wing. Scenes in Aaron Sorkin's near-perfect political drama also often end with an 'okay', but Sorkin, like a highly versatile magician, uses the word in an endless number of ways. Frequently it underlines the sagacity of the characters, who are quick to realise when are things they can't change or argue with.

Josh: Intelligence says neighbours in [war-torn country] Kundu are sleeping in each others houses.
Charlie: What does that mean?
Josh: It means they're making people in the same house rape each other on the promise that their lives will be spared.
Charlie: Okay.

Inauguration Part I, Season 4

Of course, it's usually not so bleak, and more often used for comical purposes:

Laurie: You want to buy me a drink?
Sam: I have to say, that sounded very professional to me.
Laurie: Shut up.
Sam: Okay.

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, Season 1

There's an unusual moment in one episode when Leo McGarry (played by the late great John Spencer) is having an argument with the Secretary of Defence, who he believes has massaged the figures on 'force depletion' (basically a theoretical call on how many soldiers are expected to die if sent to war). Things get highly charged.

Leo [yelling]: The numbers [are] inflated all to hell. It's 150, not 1,000.
Secretary: And that's acceptable to you, in Kundu?
Leo: I don't know what you mean when you say 'in Kundu'. [pause, realisation dawns] Yeah. Yeah, I do.
Secretary [as he storms out]: Go to hell.
Leo [shouting, in voice both angry and weirdly geeky]: Okay.

Inauguration Part I, season 4

Usually in The West Wing, each 'okay' is startlingly eloquent. Here, it is a rare sign of inarticulacy, of not having an answer. Sometimes, however, it just means 'okay'. We'll finish with this scene in The US Poet Laureate episode:

[Toby re-enters the room where the President is sitting to give him a quick briefing before the next satellite link-up interview begins.]

Toby: Okay.
Bartlet: Okay what?
Toby: Nothing, I just meant, you know, okay.
Man: They're back from commercial in 20 seconds.
Bartlet: Drilling/exploring.
Toby: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: Saudi Arabia bad.
Toby: Saudi Arabia very bad.
Bartlet: Okay.
Toby: Okay.
Bartlet: Why are you smiling?
Toby [ironically]: Happiness is my default position.
Bartlet: Okay.

The US Poet Laureate, Season 3


Search West Wing transcripts
for instances of the word 'okay'

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Five cultural disappointments of the year

If you came here thirsty for lists, prepare to be quenched...

Mighty Boosh, Brixton Academy

'Surreal', 'culty' and 'outsider' boxes were lazily ticked. Everyone laughed before the self-styled wacky duo had even done anything. Annoying.

Closure of The Queen pub, Bellefields Road
One of my favourite pubs ever. And they didn't just close it – they knocked the fucker down. Relive the pain here.

Broken Boy Soldiers, The Raconteurs
It was supposed to be the next Nevermind, for Jack's sake! Instead, it was just a bit average and featured way too much whigging out. Has slightly spoiled Brendan Benson for me.

Our Freeview box breaking
Luckily it was a two-in-one thing and the DVD player still works. But we still had to buy a new box. Hang your head in shame, Wharfdale.

The West Wing ends
Okay, it was never as good after Aaron Sorkin and Rob Lowe left. But I still wept salt tears.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Five cultural events of the year

... the end-of-year lists continue...

Blackbird, Albery Theatre
Dark and overwrought, which is what you want from the theatre really. Plus, Catherine Tate sat in front of us when we went. Bovvered.

Cansei De Ser Sexy, Scala
Gig of the year. Made me realise that most other concerts aren't actually that fun.

Gervais, Pilkington and Merchant podcasts
These actually dropped in quality for the third series, but only a dead horse would be able to keep a straight face when Karl started moaning about his kidney stone operation.

Krapp's Last Tape, Barbican
Existentialism! Surrealism! Bananas! Fifteen minutes of quality acting from the Hurtmeister [John Hurt].

Carsten Holler, Tate Modern Turbine Hall
Aka "the slides". Most asked question of the year: "Have you been on the slides yet?" Answer: "Yes I have, and they're fucking ace."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Twenty-five great tracks of 2006

Feeling list-less? This should sort you out: my 25 favourite tunes of the year. This is one mean playlist; go to iTunes and treat yourself.

Music Is My Hot Hot Sex - CSS
Why: Beyonce's Crazy in Love for electro-indie kids. Also features the sassiest Portuguese rapping heard since [simile missing].
Key lyric: "Music is my granddad / Music is my great granddaughter / Music is my sister / Music is my favourite mistress"

TV – The Sugars
Why: The catchiest tune of the year, it's Helen Love shagging The White Stripes with an excellent anti-everything sentiment at its centre.
Key lyric: "I don't like the people that make the TV / And the people on TV don't like me"

Crazy – Knarls Barkley
Why: Because that F# to B major chord change (the thing's in B minor for crying out loud!) is the most unexpected thing to happen in pop music in eight and a half years.
Key lyric: "Does that make me crazy? / Probably"

Thanks for All the Aids – Akira the Don
Why: Scared a lot of record execs, possibly because the great, hummable tune smuggles in some highly subversive lyrics which have a go at everyone, from the World Bank to Keane.
Key lyric: "If your kids are on Ritalin you are / Twelve times worse than the worst crack whore"

Eanie Meany – Jim Noir
Why: Twangy, understated and totally old-skool psychedelic; mentions garden gnomes, which you don't get with Girls Aloud.
Key lyric: "If you don't give my football back / I'm gonna get my dad on you"

Emily – Joanna Newsom
Why: Rhapsodic, weird and truly unpredictable, there was nothing else like it this year.
Key lyric: "And the meteorite's just what causes the light / And the meteor's how it's perceived"

Dress Up in You – Belle and Sebastian
Why: Lovely ballady stuff from B&S, still the only band who can sweetly sing "…so fuck them too" before seguing into a highly dignified horn solo.
Key lyric: "I am the singer, I am the singer in the band / You're the loser, I won't dismiss you out of hand"

Kidz – Plan B
Why: Scary and real; also unforgettable.
Key lyric: "Ai, listen up. Fuckin' cunts."

Country Girl – Primal Scream
Why: Simply a brilliant rocker that still has some of the churning danciness of previous Scream incarnations, elevated, as ever, by a pumping Mani bassline à la Kowalski.
Key lyric: "Crazy women / Mess your head / Wake up drunk and beaten / In some strange bed"

Alice the Goon – Quasi
Why: Sounds like a load of grand pianos being chucked off the roofs of art galleries by lunatic geniuses.
Key lyric: "Electric eel / Swimming the seas of the unreal"

See Me In My Dreams – Silver Sun
Why: You know how we said that Sugars song was the catchiest of the year? Well this is catchier.
Key lyric: "On the Northern Line, oh what have you found?"

Meeting Paris Hilton – CSS
Why: Manages to sound sharply satirical, mainly by using the word 'bitch' many many times. Laters Paris!
Key lyric: "She came to me and said: 'Do you like the bitch, bitch?'"

We Are the Pipettes – The Pipettes
Why: What a statement of intent! They are the Pipettes!
Key lyric: "We are the Pipettes and we've got no regrets / If you haven't noticed yet, we're the prettiest girls you've ever met"

Workingman Blues #2 – Bob Dylan
Why: The spidery piano intro means you know it's going to be a classic by 0.03.
Key lyric: "No man, no woman knows / The hour that sorrow will come"

Fee Fie – The Hidden Cameras
Why: Best use of the triangle, like, ever.
Key lyric: "Smell yearning"

Rough Gem – Islands
Why: Seems to be about mining and the planet's limited resources, but sounds more fun than every Christmas toy ever invented.
Key lyric: "Dig deep but don't dig too deep / When it's late, you'll see the hole is empty"

Running the World – Jarvis Cocker
Why: Furious song that gets its point across without shouting. Lots of swearing, though.
Key lyric: "It stinks, it sucks / It's anthropologically unjust / But the takings are up by a third / Cunts are still running the world"

I'm Free from the Chain Gang Now – Johnny Cash
Why: Weary but triumphant, a wonderful last track for the Man in Black's final album.
Key lyric: "All the years I was known by a number / How I kept my mind is a wonder"

Manitoba – Tapes 'n' Tapes
Why: Sounds like you know it already, but you know you don't.
Key lyric: "When you see streams of boulders / Higher hills from higher moulders"

Lust in the Movies – The Long Blondes
Why: Features a chorus that sounds like a non-sequitur, but which, as you soon realise, is what it's all about.
Key lyric: "Edie Sedgwick, Anna Karina, Arlene Daaaahl"

It Hurts to See You Dance So Well – The Pipettes
Why: Very short, very sweet, trussed with gliding, wintery harmonies.
Key lyric: "But you never knew / How much I was in love with you"

Black and White – The Upper Room
Why: The 80s were back again. But this time they were good.
Key lyric: "Pain pain pain pain pain pain"

Ldn – Lily Allen
Why: Savvy but innocent; manages to make tales of mugging seem fun.
Key lyric: "A fella looking dapper, but he's sitting with a slapper / Then I see it's a pimp and his crack whore"

Boom [Remix] – Akira the Don ft Bashy
Why: Sampling Elastica's Connection is good, but the rhymes – mentioning subjects as varied as David Cameron, Costcutter and Lebanon – are even better.
Key lyric: "Zimmer zimmer zimmer got a donner and a dick"

Gun vs Knife – Dan Sartain
Why: Both menacing and uncertain; according to new research, they don't write 'em like this any more.
Key lyric: "Bring your gun and I'll bring my knife"


Last year's 25 great songs

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bill psyches

This is fairly extraordinary, and certainly worth recording. Last week, Sarah was standing opposite Brixton police station (she works nearby) and she sees a police van driving past. The van - "definitely an official police vehicle" - has speakers attached to the outside; I guess most of them do, so they can shout at rioters and stuff. But this one's different, as the noise emanating from the speakers is... the theme tune to The Bill! The TV programme! The van drives into the police car park and, amazingly, at the exact moment that it pulls to a halt, the song finishes.

This is surely Sir Ian Blair's first great initiative for the Met, and the world should sit up and take notice. If I was a New Jersey gangster, I'd drive along with Alabama 3's Woke Up This Morning on the stereo. If I was President, I'd install speakers in the corridors of the White House so I could walk into the Oval Office to the sounds of The West Wing theme tune. If I worked in a stationery office in Slough, I'd trudge to work with Handbags and Gladrags on my iPod. Never forget that your life is a television programme.


More TV-related theoreticals

Albums of 2006

It's list time here on planet Earth, so here are my top five long-players of the year, with five also-goods.

Top five
Cansei De Ser Sexy – CSS
The Life Pursuit – Belle and Sebastian
Alright, Still – Lily Allen
Ys – Joanna Newsom
Awoo – The Hidden Cameras

Honorable mentions
Dad's Weird Dream – Silver Sun
Whatever I Say I Am That's What I'm Not – Arctic Monkeys
We Are the Pipettes – The Pipettes
Modern Times – Bob Dylan
Howling Bells – Howling Bells


Last year's faves

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wii - gee! Bored

Nice interview over on Eurogamer with Marwan Elgamal, the 17-year-old who queued on Oxford Street for nearly three days so he could pick up one of the new Nintendo Wii consoles. Some highlights follow:

Patrick Garratt: What happened when you needed to go to the toilet?

Marwan Elgamal: There was a bin around the corner. I just did it in there.

Later, Marwan speaks movingly of his love of the Zelda games:

Marwan Elgamal: It does appeal to me, but not as much as Zelda. I grew up with Zelda and it's my favourite game. I need Zelda.

Finally, the interviewer tries to catch him out, but the masterful Marwan outmanoevres him with an answer geekier than you would've thought possible:

Marwan Elgamal: I got to try out Twilight Princess and it's tailor-made. It works so well. It attracts me so much.

Patrick Garratt: You don't want to play Twilight Princess on GameCube?

Marwan Elgamal: I'm going to get Twilight Princess for GameCube but I'm going to leave it sealed because I'm collecting all the Zelda games.


Full interview

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gets your goat

Thinking of going for the charity Christmas option this year and buying your loved one a goat for an African family? Think again, fool. Animal Aid, the UK's largest animal rights group, say this:
  • £11 sends six chickens to an impoverished area where they can heighten the disease risk and severely damage the immediate environment
  • £125 provides a pair of goats - animals known to cause desertification, thereby reducing the amount of farmland available to local people
  • £750 sends a cow, who will drink up to 90 litres of the villagers' water every single day
The Nintendo Wii's out today. Get one of those instead.


Animal Aid
Wii. Are. Your Friends

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lit TV

There aren't enough highbrow literary programmes on TV featuring obscure academics, and if there were, they'd be shit. But here's the answer: why not just assimilate them, using established mainstream formats? And here are the pitches:

Candide Camera
A crack team of Voltaire scholars play a series of crazy literary pranks on unsuspecting members of the public, with inevitably hilarious consequences

Rupert Brookeside
A dramatic soap following the trials and tribulations of a community of World War 1 poetry experts.

CSI Murakami
A squad of Japanese literature fans solve gruesome but metaphysical crimes, helped along the way by a team of magical cats and kooky waifs.

Wife of Bath Swap
A pair of Chaucer scholars switch spouses for a week, with hilarious – and increasingly highbrow – consequences.

The House of TS Eliot
A group of prickly experts on modern poetry are forced to share a house together while they attempt to set up and run their own fashionable clothing company. Will infighting about the nature of postmodernism destroy their business?

Heartbreak Hiawatha
A youth-orientated soap in which a group of literate teens fall in and out of love, while discussing Longfellow in trochaic tetrameter.

How could it possibly fail?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Paxman cometh

Looks like someone got out on the wrong side of the bed.


More 'video'
And more. Technology, eh?

Saturday's gone

Go to the pub with James on Saturday after an efficient house-moving operation. But throughout, I feel concerned about the fact that he is wearing green trainers and a red hoodie, and I'm wearing red trainers and a green hoodie, and how this might look.

***

Hop over to the White Horse on Brixton Hill for Toby's birthday drinks. Weirdly, despite its, er, 'trendy bar vibe', a number of the clientele are quite old. I point out a guy who resembles a 70-year-old Tony Blair. "There's a guy who looks like Prescott playing pool," says Johnny.

***

Toby tells me about the sadistic evening he inflicted on himself recently. Along with Ben (who harbours the most amazing Alan Lamb anecdote ever – I'll have to tell it to you sometime) he went on a pub crawl of London station pubs. And that's not pubs that are just outside stations, or pubs called 'The Paddington'. No, they had to be the hellish drinking establishments that are actually on the concourse. "We were the only people who were actually there out of choice," he explained. "Bonaparte's in Waterloo is an amazing place."

***

As I'm swiping my Oyster card coming out of the tube station, a plastic splinter of the yellow touch pad somehow comes off and lodges itself in my right thumb, between the side of the nail and the skin. It really hurts, and there's blood. I'm totally suing someone for that.

***

So this was fun: then I went to a (okay, another) pub to meet up with some bloggers. There was Huw (My Thoughts Exactly), Monica (An American in London), Astrid (*The Amazing Adventures & Untold Stories of Astrid*), Leonie (Sometimes Funny is All I Have), Curly (Hairy Tales), and Curly's friend Sud. All good people, and blogging is barely mentioned.

***

As closing time closes in, an extraordinary thing happens. The barmaid whose been telling us to get out comes up to our table wielding a signed Barry Manilow LP. "Is this anybody's?" she says, incredulously. Later we find the culprit and ridicule her.

***

We traipse off to Thirst in Soho. At first, it's pure hell, packed and musically upsetting. But then – and I don't think I was alone in this – it starts to become, like, enjoyable. But then all the booze I've drunk starts to weigh on me and it's time to go.

***

Feeling highly wrecked, I leave the bar. Unable to face the horrors of the Saturday evening night bus, I decide to walk home. On the way down Whitehall, two girls are dancing in the street. They suddenly start running and, without any consultation at all, jump onto the podium beneath the large statue of Field Marshall the Viscount Alan Brooke and start grinding against him, each with a hand on his nether regions. It is highly disrespectful, but bloody hilarious.

***

Reaching the Houses of Parliament, I stare up at the extraordinary architecture of the Victoria Tower Sovereign's Entrance, misty-eyed with drunken wonder and think, yeah, this is why you walk home.

***

And this is why you don't: going along Millbank, six guys are coming towards me. As they pass, refusing to alter my course, I brush against the coat of one of them with my arm. Weirdly, neither of us register this at the time, but a good ten seconds later, and a fair distance apart, we both look back. "Watch where you're fucking walking, you cunt!" he yells. "Come back here!" I glare, but silently turn down his kind offer. I have quite a lot of attitude sometimes.

***

Reaching Stockwell – the walk's taken just under an hour - I'm not that hungry, but I do need something, so, like the dirty addict I am, decide to indulge and pay a visit Millennium Fried Chicken. It's almost impossible to convey the look of amazement that appears on Shiva's face when I respond to his "the usual - two pieces of chicken and chips?" question in the negative. The poor man's eyes widen in horror and confusion. But I put in an order for a chicken burger, and he's appeased.

***

Fortunately, I have a new Tamil word to try out: 'Parkalam' ['See you later']. It works: Shiva returns to his usual state of intense jolliness and throws in a free can of Coke with my chicken burger. Heady times.


Another fun Saturday
And another

Other accounts of the evening:
Curly
Leonie
Astrid

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tragically quip

My favourite piece of 'real-life' dialogue of all time took place about two years ago at a party held by my old journalism tutor, Angela, a stern feminist of the old-school. The fact that the payoff comes from Kearns, a Telegraph-reading sports lover certainly adds to the quality of the exchange, particularly as him and Angela were often at loggerheads. Loggerheads! What a word!

Anyway:

Ed: "So, we're having a house-warming party and the theme is 'film and television of the 80s'."

Angela: "Who are you going as?"

Ed: "Sigourney Weaver."

Angela: "Hmmm. I didn't have time to watch any films in the '80s - I was far too busy with parenthood."

Kearns: "Parenthood the film?"

[Silence.]

Breaking Newsom

The difference between meteors, meteorites and meteoroids, as sung by Joanna Newsom in her 12-minute album opener Emily:

"The meteorite is the source of the light,
And the meteor's just what we see;
And the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee.
And the meteorite's just what causes the light,
And the meteor's how it's perceived;
And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void, that lies quiet in offering to thee."

So there we go.

Cooking disasters #312

Stupid egg.

The stupid egg
Stupid frying pan.