Saturday, September 29, 2007

Laurie load

It’s Stephen Fry night on BBC2 tonight, but let’s not forget the awesome talents of his old comedy partner Hugh Laurie. The Lozmeister, as he’s often known, may have disappeared to America to play House, but he’s still a National Treasure in my book.

Edmund has posted a nice Jeeves and Wooster clip of Laurie at the piano; here he is on the guitar and harmonica (he plays the drums and saxophone as well, apparently). The music is a nice pastiche of early to mid 90s Dylan (or any number of American country acts, I guess), but Laurie’s sheepish facial expressions are priceless.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mark my words

I think I mentioned how much I enjoyed Siri Hustvedt's tale of love, loss, art and murder What I Loved, although ironically I didn't explain "what I loved" about it.

Now is not the time to elaborate, though. What I wanted to mention were the marks made by the previous owner in my (second-hand) copy. The book was only slightly marred, because the marks in question - a series of green highlightings - were infrequent; so infrequent, in fact, that I'm able to list the selected phrases in their entirety here. Hustvedt's novel, by the way, is 367 pages long.

p21. "Mommsenstrasse 11"
p.366 "rooms of an apartment in Berlin – Mommsensetrasse 11"
p.366 "was all Berlin and flight and Hampstead and German and confusion by"
p.366 "father. Mutti in the dark."

Perhaps the confused rogue mistook the book for a German property guide.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


The high coolness levels of The Best-Looking Man In The World, aka Brad Pitt, would be annoying if he didn’t harbour such high levels of coolness. Here’s the highly cool bastard on the red carpet at the premiere of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, being highly cool:

Perky MTV producer: “What did you learn from doing this movie?”
Brad Pitt: “I didn't learn shit, really.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Siri-ously good

Omg, Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved is just like the best godamn book I've read in ages. I'm 107 pages shy of utter literary completion so don't give me any of your "Oh yeah, I like the bit at the end where Harry dies" schtick, you nutty internet creeps. It's stupid: the only reason I bought it was because I'm such a SICK Paul Auster completist that after trawling his fiction, non-fiction - even his pseudonymous pulp noir novel - I moved onto his wife's books - pretty messed up, right? But God, I bet even the notes those two scrawl to each other before dashing out to meet bohemian pals for a highbrow latte are busting with enough literary merit to fund the Somerset Maugham Awards for the next few millennia. I'd be over to America like a shot to study such scrawlings at length, if only I had unlimited access to the Hustvedt-Auster garbage cans.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo, I love you

The Xbox computer game Halo 3 is released today. With 4.2m copies already in stores, it’s apparently going to be the biggest event ever. Watch.

I might as well face it

It's funny the things you get addicted to. I'm currently infatuated with both the hot chocolate from the office hot drink machine and this stupid Tetris-like game on my mobile phone called QuadraPop. They sound innocuous, but the combination of cholesterol and eye strain could well prove lethal in the long run. Ah well, I suppose they're better than crack and cruising. Healthwise, I mean.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Leave it

Yesterday we looked at a leaving email of impressive depressiveness. Today, here's another favourite I received some time back. It nearly collapses under the weight of florid writing, but is saved by its natty combination of nonchalance and brevity...

As the fledgling sparrow must one day leave his nest to soar unencumbered into the azure blue depths, so must I now take my leave from the motley dwelling of old branches, bits of scavenged plastic bag and regurgitated worm that is **********. Yes, tomorrow is my last day. Soon you'll have a strange face on the 3rd floor to shout at indiscriminately when the photocopier chews up your marketing reports.

So why not treasure me while you still can? Come on down for a few sherbets tomorrow evening at *********** from about 6pm. Even if you don't really care or even know who I am, you might as well tag along for R*****'s stories about his amoral brother-in-law or an entertaining stream-of-consciousness torrent of Tourette's-style invective from the young J*** B******. There will be something for everyone.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Leaves dropping

Ah, the leaving email - I've received a few classics in my time, some pretentious, some grandoise, some emotional. But none have bettered the one below. Its utter despondency and brutal honesty are a joy to behold, even a number of years on.

Hi Everyone,

At last my last day is here.

Thanks for everyone for making my time here better than it would be without you.

Although I leave with a shattered self esteem and disappointing level of personal and intellectual growth, I have at least, probably, been doing the worthy task in keeping ********** from complete failure for the last 10 months.

Thankfully today will be the last day I ever have to think about these fiendish things called "*************" and "*******" and eventually the scars will heal.

Please be patient with my replacement – it’s not his fault, and the sooner the above named things and all things associated with them are banished (replaced), the happier the world will be.

Goodbye to everyone, and thanks for being kind, patient and understanding.

[Name deleted].

PS. I recognise that I have personal problems that need to be addressed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Homepage bound

The Google homepage fills my heart with joy.

Having experienced a multitude of problems with home internet in my adult life (mainly thanks to the shoddiness of NTL's service), I've spent a lot of time testing the connection by pressing Alt+Home to bring up my browser homepage, which is, of course, The "page not found" signals disappointment and the need for further work. The Google homepage equals success and progression.

Even now, with my internet troubles over (at least until I have another go at setting up wireless), the sight of those primary colours on that big white background is dear to mine eyes; I am one of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov's puppies, with Google as my bell.

Friday, September 21, 2007

If you Jose so

Every newspaper in the Christendom is weeping over the departure of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. And every newspaper has knocked up a box containing his best quotes, usually beginning with the famous "special one" announcement.

Jose's special talent (apart from, like, the football stuff) is to make lengthy everyday analogies seem lofty, epic and of supreme importance. My favourite is this little beauty, in which our hero discusses why he didn't spend in the January 2007 transfer window, despite major injury problems amongst his players:

"It is like having a blanket that is too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But I am content because the blanket is cashmere. It is no ordinary blanket."

Monday, September 17, 2007

The coldern days

Oh right, is it winter now?


I’ve had quite a rich weekend. Is that the word? It felt enriching, that's what I mean.

I went to the pub. I had a stroll through London. I went to the theatre. I got drunk. I met up with old friends. I read the paper. I danced to electro. I watched a DVD. I went to the pub again. I watched a firework display from my bedroom. I did a stir fry. I watched TV. I went for a run. I (nearly managed to) set up a wireless network. I went to the cinema. I ate out with a friend. I read a novel.

Not in that order, of course.

Anyway: has anyone at work today asked me what I got up to at the weekend? Have they fuck.

Lessons learned from... 3.10 to Yuma

Security in Yuma prison is extremely lax.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hissy Brit

Emailed this round at work, after Tadich sent it over. The responses:

"i am absolutely speechless. it's... horrible"

"this is taking the UGC revolution too far"

"M was so terrified by the look on my face he spoke to me"

"It’s good eh? Psychotic but mesmerising. I’ve watched it twice."

Reminds me a bit of this actually.


Spotted last night: a bearded Adam Buxton doing very fast laps of Kennington Park. That guy, he cracks me up, with his crazy running.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lessons learned from... Hallam Foe

If you interrupt a couple's lovemaking by donning war-paint and a stuffed badger's head hat and then jumping on them, they are likely to become annoyed.