Monday, January 30, 2006

DIY hatred 4

Well we've almost finished Eben's bedroom and despite the paint being a slightly different hue from what we expected, we're going with it. Only got carpets and curtains to go in now and then we're done.

Except we're not, because we've now got to do the other bloody room. The house is a tip because we haven't got the time to do anything else but decorate.


Monday, January 23, 2006

DIY hatred 3

4 hours to put up 5 poxy pieces of lining paper and they're all bubbly. Fucking hell.

DIY hatred 2

Well as predicted it's a nightmare.

Spent 4 hours filling cracks and then when it came to checking it was dry next morning realised that it was actually flexible filler I'd used, which would have been OK had I smoothed it all off, but I hadn't. I thought we could sand it down, but no, it was just like rubber stipple. It all had to come out, which took fucking ages. So, about 6 hours of work completely wasted, with another couple of hours planned to refill so as to get back to the same point.

Anyway mustn't grumble, the rest of the day was great. Just the fridge and the land phone that decided to pack up at the same time yesterday.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

DIY hatred

New sprog's due in 6 weeks, so we're moving Eben into a new bedroom and having the nursery for the new bug. This means redecorating both rooms and I fucking hate decorating. I'm no good at it. I get no satisfaction from it. It bores me rigid.

What makes it worse is that Nicky is a complete perfectionist so the preparation element takes forever. So far I've been doing it for the last 2 weekends and I'm only just getting towards the end of the preparation.

Or so I think.

I just know that during inspection this afternoon the work will be rejected and I'll have even more to do. There is nothing in this world that puts me in a worse mood than decorating. Well actually there is. The thought of decorating.

If someone says to me when I've finished. 'Isn't that satisfying?' I will brain them.

'No it's not satisfying, it was a grind and it's not as good as if I'd got someone in and anyway I've got to do the bloody nursery yet.'


Friday, January 20, 2006

Unintentioanlly sexual comic books

I was emailed this link today. Comic book covers from a more naive age, or maybe not.

Strangling live music

Live music had a boom year in the UK last year. Fergal Sharkey head of the Live Music Forum recently reported back on a report commissioned by the Forum and it noted that 47% of pubs, clubs, student unions and restaurants featured at least one live act in the past year, and 19% of small venues staged gigs at least twice a month. In all, an estimated 1.7m gigs were staged across England and Wales.

This proves the popularity and the re-emergence of live music on the British music scene in a year that UK music had a fantastic renaissance. The Top 5 selling albums in the UK last year were all by British artists. Those artists being, James Blunt, Coldplay, Gorrillaz, Robbie Williams and the Kaiser Chiefs. In the annual Radio 2 poll of the top 10 years for music it was the first time for 20 years that the current year had made the top 10, 2005 being no.6 in the poll. This may reflect the shifting demographic of the Radio 2 listenership, however in general the music buying demographic in the UK has shifted as well with all age groups now buying music.

2005 was also the real breakthough year for downloaded music. For the first time ever 'music' surpassed 'porn' as the number 1 searched for word on the world wide web. Arctic Monkeys went to Number 1 having released their original material via the internet - at the time without a record deal. It was also the year that the singles chart merged with the downloads chart thereby putting a stop to the farcical dual chart system that was being operated.

All of this has thereby contributed to the explosion of live music, people are going out to see small bands in small venues all over the UK with a real 'joie de vive' and Sharkey's prediction for 2006 is to hit somewhere in the region of 2 million live gigs.

And New Labour's response to this UK live music boomtime. Well frankly... hysterical fear. The new Licensing Act which came in to force on November 24th 2005 will effectively kill the 1 and 2 man act in smaller venues. The new act requires small venues to apply for an entertainment licence at the cost of up to £1,000. Yet again the government have stated that the act is 'necessary to control antisocial behaviour, public safety and noise.' I'm sorry but have you ever heard such a pile of steaming horse manure in all your life. How many aspects of normal British life are now being curtailed under this ridiculous antscial behaviour moniker.

Both the Times and the Guardian have covered the story:

New act will give music lovers the blues - The Guardian - Tuesday August 2, 2005

Star to defy live music law - The Times - Friday January 13th, 2006

On the face of things this may not seem as significant as you'd think it would just effect a lot of those backgroundy type artists, but these venues have provided the lifeblood for new music in the country, as the feedback to The Times article suggests:

The government's official line is that the previous 'two in the bar' rule was non-sensical in that a 2 piece band like the White Stripes could play with no licence and have as big a PA rigged up as they liked, yet a venue wishing to host a string quartet had to have a licence. Of course, this is bollocks. A bar can host Monday night football and cram 1,000 people in to a box without having to even notify the health and safety executive, let alone apply for a licence.

This is just yet more proof that this government is intent on cracking down on all activities that enrich the diversity of British culture. With any luck they may succeed in ensuring that all teenagers only play XBox at home for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Advertising geekdom

I guess I haven't revealed my deep geekiness when it comes to advertising, but then I did promise not to talk about work. However I saw this, this afternoon and just thought 'that's amazing'. It's the concept more than the execution really although that's pretty cool as well

Honda's advertising has been consistently amazing for years now and this Civic ad. really tops it IMO (have to add that don't I)

Click on watch video.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Child detritus

I have just walked in to work and in looking for the receipts in my pockets to do my expenses, I have found the following:

- A gorilla holding a banana
- 2 plastic coins
- 3 nappy bags
- A small wooden tree
- The spanner and spare wheels for a fingerboard

I can't remember the last time I found a fiver that I'd forgotten I had

Friday, January 06, 2006

Londoners I hate

This is a dedication to the 2 buskers that get on my train Streatham Common to Victoria formerly Balham to Victoria and vice versa and have done for the past 20 years as far as I can remember. Now on first hearing, their little ditties are mildly amusing. They have one about brushing your teeth in a public convenience and one about where the train goes (actually that's not at all funny, just informational). However 20 years of it is frankly bloody annoying.

Their arrival on the carriage is a very good test of who is new to the line as when they start up there are little smiles from some quarters. It is also a good indicator of people (like me) who have been travelling the route for far longer, as they display grim faced gritted teeth.

For my part I have started shouting at them and boy they don't like it. Oh yes they're chirpy enough when they get on, but I really get up their nose when I ask if they have any new material. 'Yes we have lots' 'Go on then boys play some, I'm bored of this one it's been 20 years now and it aint Brown Sugar' general slanging about the merits of the Rolling Stones normally ensues. Those that were smiling normally look at me as if I am a complete bastard. Those that were grim faced are now normally smiling. I see it as part of my public service.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Those Golf Sale signs?

I've never actually followed one so I've never actually seen the golf sale shop. It's always made me wonder 'Are they all pointing towards the same huge and on-going Golf Sale?'

Refreshed? Errrrrr..... not quite.

Grenada was absolutely fantastic. The West Indies always is. I just don't know a more chilled out place. Weather was perfet for what we were looking for i.e. it was back end of rainy season, so the sunny parts were interspersed with overcast and wet but still hot (28 to 29 degree) patches. My parents and brother and sister-in-law shared a lot of the Eben load so Nic and I got a lot of time together and boy did we get through some backgammon. The resort was perfect for our needs, it was a cottage hotel so we had a lot of space in the rooms and outside space . So why not refreshed? Well mentally I am, but I'm a physical wreck. Ebs never adjusted to the time difference which has meant 8 days of between 3 and 5 o'clock waking It did get better towards the end but nevertheless urrgh. However apart from that perfect.

Favourite holiday snap - My stepmother Jo with Ebs.

You are not in America - now get over it

I like Americans in America. They're personable, hospitable, kind hosts. Very accomodating, unusually relaxed (unless you're in New York) and contrary to popular opinion tollerant. So what the hell happens to them when they leave.

There were a few hings that made the hackles rise, but one example riled more than any other. Now, you have to remember that Grenadans ain't the hardest working folks in the world and frankly, if I was them, nor would I be and what I am in awe of is their complete lack of apology for the lifestyle.

Take for instance the following conversation in the supermarket half an hour after they opened. In England shelves would be stacked.

'Have you got any mince'

'no man, de man has to chop de meat up, gives me ha' an hour'

thinks 'mmmmm, I may come back this afternoon then'

Anyway the American's. We pitched up at the mall at 9.40 on the 2nd January (a public holiday) and it was closed, but due to open at 10.00. Five minutes later a couple walked up and asked:

'Is the mall closed' spoken in one of those really whiney American accents which seems to accentuate when they're a bit irate.

'Er no it's open at 10'

'What is it with these people, everything's closed'

'It's a public holiday'

'Goddam, yesterday everything's closed, today everything's closed. What is it with these people' said in real anger

'You're in someone else's fucking country you arseholes, shut the fuck up, you whiney yanks. THESE PEOPLE...THESE PEOPLE are your hosts. I know you invaded Grenada 25 years ago because they voted a left wing government in to power, but let them be, Jesus.'

I didn't say the last bit, but I thought it really hard.

We bumped in to them a little later in a coffee shop:

'What you don't even have a bagel?' - incredulous open mouthed look. Jesus wept.

'American food' or 'Why Americans are enormous'

We part self catered while we were away and an awful lot of the branded goods including things like the pasteurised milk, orange juice etc. was imported from the US. My Dad and I spent most of the morning laughing at the marketing claims plastered all over the packets. It's a marvellous example of what a massively under-regulated market can truly get away with. i.e. as close to lying as you can possibly get away with.

There were some ludicrous examples, the peanuts were covered in 'South Beach diet' flashes, but if you ate a handful you were probably well over your 6g of salt a day. The bacon had 0% cabohydrates, but dry fry a couple of slices in a pan and you had enough saturated fat to fur up Lance Armstrong's arteries for good. Do you want your orange juice, with PULP, NO PULP, HALF PULP, SEMI PULP, DEMI PULP or WHO FUCKING CARES? Bagels were SO 0% everything, they had to add a little bit of extra packaging to get all the claims on.

My personal favourite though was the claim made on the side of the 'Lactaid Lactose free homogenised pasteurised milk' - '3 portions of dairy a day can support a calorie controlled diet' - brilliant in it's weaslieness, says nothing whatsoever, but somehow tries to sell, not just the fact that dairy if fabulous but also that 3 portions of it would be the best option. I guess I could go on a calorie controlled diet and just eat cheese, I may get scabies as a result though ah well.