Me: ""She dances like the Philly Phanatic." That's a good line. But nobody would get it in this country."
My bird: "That's what google is for."
Monday, 30 March 2009
Sunday, 29 March 2009
We had choices, and settled for Proof, John Madden's 2005 movie, starring Gwynnie, AnTHony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhall. The Radio Times awarded Proof two stars, and their film critic slated the film, accusing it of unremitting drabness, amongst other things. My squaw said, "Ignore whatever dick wrote that review, it's really good." And she was right. I really liked it.
Meanwhile, as Proof played on BBC2, on Channel Five, Steven Seagal was karate chopping his way through a Jamaican drug gang in a movie called Marked For Death, the IMDb synopsis of which includes the following line:
On the next day, after reuniting with his sister Melissa and Melissa's daughter Tracy, John gets into a shootout against a Jamaican drug kingpin known as ScrewfaceThe Radio Times decided to award Marked For Death THREE stars. That, for those of you who (unlike Gwynnie Paltrow) are NOT mathematics geniuses, is ONE STAR MORE than they awarded Proof.
I don't know how to put this any other way, so I won't. This is just insane. And I don't say this as a total movie snob. I've smoked my way through many a Steven Seagal moviefest, at the end of which I'm usually in hysterics. Fire Down Below, Today, You Die and (it doesn't get any better than this) Half Past Dead, are some all-time movie treasures, beloved of my friends Wednesday and Will.
Nevertheless, Proof was good. Not "good". But actually not bad. It defo isn't worse than Marked for Death.
Yet more evidence that all critics should be taken out and karate chopped by Steven Seagal.
By the way, for those of you interested in movie marginalia, Jake Gyllenhall is the SPITTING IMAGE of Brittany Murphy. You read it here first (I hope).
Great publicity, I reckon. Should you require my strangulation services, I'm free on Tuesday night. Get in touch.
p.s. Bring your own string.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
"Though some guests may tell you that reading USA Today every morning is 'hell', we can assure you that it is not actually Hell."from Thank You For Choosing The Hyatt Regency Purgatory, by Bob Woodiwiss.
See also How To Perform A Tracheotomy, by Sarah Walker
and, more importantly, David Copper's Corrections To Last Month's Letters To Penthouse Forum.
Friday, 27 March 2009
"This crisis was fostered and boosted by irrational behaviour of some people that are white, blue-eyed."For the record, Señor Lula, I was nowhere near the crime scene on the day the bubble burst and the pyramid collapsed and the turn downed and the depression set-in and the wankers hung themselves from the shower rod and all the rest of that shit.
Plus, I have an alibi. I was taking Smytho's bird out for a curry. Check my credit card statements.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
I know this, not because I am being despatched to collect him from the airport, but because my mother has left a Times educational supplement on MBAs lying on the kitchen table.
I have suggested she make something involving broad beans by way of a home-coming meal: he'll like that.
* yes, really.
His response to my humiliating cry for help was as follows:
What you do is go to Post Options (bottom left), and then shift the time/date to whenever you want it to see the light of day. Sometimes - and I don't off-hand recall in which circumstances - you have to save it as a draft, then make like you're going to edit it, and THEN change the time/date. Because otherwise it publishes it instanto, and simply announces on the blog that it's now Sunday or whatever. Which will get chaotic when I come back the day after and start saying it's still Friday.So glad I asked.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Latest publication from Taschen. (And retailing at £39.99, incidentally.)E-mail also contains this sentence:
"Koons has been contemporary art's bad boy — a reputation he (ahem) nailed in the early 90s via works depicting him in flagrante delicto with then-wife Cicciolina, the Italian porn star-cum-politician."
I have always striven to avoid that last formulation. And there's why.
"[T]here's two kinds of people that wear cowboy hats: cowboys and assholes."All taken from The Kinkster's interview with HUMO magazine.
"[T]he mainstream really doesn't understand satire at all. You just can't explain it."
[On writing] "If you look deep enough into yourself, I think you will find everybody else."
"I think if you're not offending people today, you ain't living."
"Twenty-eight books I've written so far. I say it's an index of an empty life. If I'd heard you'd written twenty-eight books, I already wouldn't like you to start with."
"You know, nothing's better than writing. That's a great life."
"It's a beautiful thing, to be surrounded with animals and have somebody pay for that and you write what you feel what you wanna write."
"If you look at the people that have told the truth throughout history, you'll see they haven't fared too well. Starting with Socrates and Jesus and that bunch there..."
"Find what you like and let it kill you."
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
- Helpless: The true story of a neglected girl betrayed and exploited by the neighbour she trusted
- Cut: The true story of an abandoned, abused little girl who was desperate to be part of a family
Clearly this is where my fellow amnesiac and I went wrong: We were never abandoned, abused and neglected pretty little girls who were betrayed and exploited by our neighbours.
Maybe there's still time?
Here are some snaps of me that could adorn the cover of my own little girl misery memoir:
Cover Snap #1
A shot of my sister and I. (That's me on the right, in blue.)
Cover Snap #2
Here I am contemplating suicide. (I didn't do it.)
Cover Snap #3
And finally, here I am in later years, completely fucked up by my incredibly traumatic and miserable childhood experiences (hopefully in Ireland).
Right, I'm off to pick out something nice to wear for the book tour.
I threw my chicken bones over my shoulder, reached for my pad and pen, and perched on the edge of the sofa in a state of excited anticipation. Unfortunately, the show was not as billed. Instead of invaluable gardening tips on how to grow nuclear bomb skunk with the buds still on, all I got were recipes for face cream and cold sore cures.
And then, this morning, Amazon has the nerve to send me an email urging me to buy the book of the series. 45% off the cover price? No wonder!
Except... Well, take Thursday night. The Villanova-Duke tip-off isn't till 2am my time. Admittedly, March Madness is not baseball, but that's just not cricket!
Speaking of which, why can't I get more into some of the exciting English sports, likes darts and bowls, that tend to be played at more civilised hours? (The BBC's coverage of these two major sports is extensive. They're also number one for any sports that involve wheelchairs. If I want to watch the (able-bodied men's) cricket, I need to erect a satellite above my bed.)
Meanwhile, while I'm here, and heavy-eyed, I must say that... Last night's final was spectacular. The standard of baseball. The passion. The sushi rolls that I was chewing in my dreams. All of it was off the radar. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a game that much - just because of the game being played, and not because of my tragic Ray Kinsella type tear-jerking sentimentality about "the game". It also made me think. It goes without saying that the WBC is bigger in every country that isn't the US, than it is in the US, host nation and home of baseball. (Read that sentence back, I promise it makes sense.) About half of Japan and Korea were watching last night's game. And while I'm not faulting the commitment of the Team USA players this time around (they did seem genuinely into it), I am questioning the attitude of the US to the world at large.
So here's my new theory: I reckon the United States has become terrified of competition. The reason the US is not interested in any international competitions - only in its domestic competitions - is because it's scared of getting beat (which it tends to do, incidentally) by other nations. Notice how the only time the US public seems to show any interest in US involvement in international competitions is when there's a chance of total domination by a US individual or team. They get pumped about the (NBA) Dream Team or Michael Phelps, or whatever, because they want to watch Americans stomp on the world. The moment there's a threat of getting beaten by fundamentally more sound and less macho, egotistical, self-congratulatory individuals or teams (like Japan and Korea in the baseball) they don't tune in, and pretend it doesn't matter.
It does matter. The WBC really does matter. The rest of the world treats it like the World Cup (of football). The passion and intensity is that high. But look at how the US feels about the World Cup. It shrugs with disinterest. I used to think there were a lot of reasons for this, but now I think it's just because Americans are pussies. They're scared of getting beat. It's like if England never played cricket against Australia or the Windies or India or Seffrica. We do, and we regularly get our arses whomped. But then we stand up straight, dust ourselves down, before bending over again for another beating.
There is of course absolutely no political comment of any kind hidden in this message. None at all.
UPDATE: To all those who've been in contact, threatening to come round and pummel my ass, I should say in my defence that:
a) I love baseball.
b) My girlfriend is American.
c) She's yours, if you refrain from pummelling my ass.
d) I've had no sleep.
e) I never mentioned Vietnam.
f) Some other things.
"For everything I describe I have seen; and if I may have been deceived when I saw it, I am most certainly not deceiving you when telling you of it now."- Letter to Marie-Henri Beyle, in Paul Hoffman's The Golden Age of Censorship
Monday, 23 March 2009
"It never occurred to me to think it was a risk," said the 77-year-old archaeologist from north London, Bridget Jones.(BBC)
"I'm an optimist. I think it'll never happen to me."
She admitted she had heard "a couple of explosions", and then she told me that she would prefer to be killed by a car bomb than die in a hospital geriatric ward.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Saturday, 21 March 2009
1) had to get MGM to advance him $150,000 to clear outstanding bookies' debts (from a total salary of $200,000 p.a.);
2) wrote the screenplay on a return flight to Mexico (for his wedding);
3) and directed the entire film from horseback.
They don't make 'em like that any more.
[Thanks to Lillian Ross (RIP)]
Friday, 20 March 2009
Pete, who was actually once in the band and isn't dead yet,
and George, who wasn't but is.
Something of a coin toss, innit?
1) A reference, by Tim Whewell, to 'cutting back on the trimmings.'
2) Middle-class Russians in Yaroslavl illustrating the effects of the economic crash by whingeing that their children's bedrooms will now only have 30' TV screens.
3) The worst interview ever.
I reckon I've listened to Handel's Messiah a good thousand times now, and have long since grown comfortable with such pseudo-kinky humdingers as
"All we like sheep..."and
"He gave his back to the smiters..."What I hadn't picked up, though (and here I blame the impeccable diction in Harry Christophers' ace 2008 recording of the work) was the next line in that movement:
"He gave his back to the smiters... and his cheeks to them that pluckéd off the hair."Which is just plain weird.
"Yesterday I managed a 45 min session in the gym and rounded it off with the 1.5miler in under 10 mins... on a treadmill."I must confess I've been pretty lax on my fitness this week. Yesterday I ran up Tower 42...
and only spent about seven minutes on it, at that.
[Thanks to PC]
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Mate, I know you think you are the victim of some of the worst subbing crimes of the millennium, but imagine how you'd feel if (what you once called) "the HR monkeys of the print world" spelt your NAME wrong on your album cover.
That's really quite an achievement.
Thankfully, their illiterate sins cannot take away from the sweet, sweet sounds of the great Mr. Dekker. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: We should've been musicians. I think I'd rather be overproduced than overedited.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Dom: “For the rest of us, too.”
ASH: “Heh. Not a chance. I still have my notebook and pen.”
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
"Just about anything - protesting against world hunger; getting a laugh out of words like 'nooky'; dispensing wisdom; dying - is easier than real comedy."- from Jonathan Franzen's 2006 memoir. Highly recommended.
"Schulz wasn't an artist because he suffered. He suffered because he was an artist. To keep choosing art over the comforts of a normal life - to grind out a strip every day for fifty tears; to pay the very steep psychic price for this - is the opposite of damaged. It's the sort of choice that only a tower of strength and sanity can make."
Superb cover art - and other arcana - found here (p4).
ASH - "Republics. A great idea, until you need working toilets."
It has a tiny, superficial flourish; but deep roots which thrive in shitty environments.
It's not as sustaining as people claim; but not as boring as it looks.
The most palatable bit is in the centre; but ugly growths soon form on the extremities.
And the Irish love it.
Monday, 16 March 2009
"Maybe only music has the power to bring a place or a person back, so close that you can smell them in the air. And I can't play guitar."A man after my own heart - and lack of talent.
(Extract taken from the blue-ribbon Preface of The Nasty Bits)
Friday, 13 March 2009
"Fiction's hard. I do it because it's therapy. I spend a lot of time writing about myself, talking about myself and what happens to me. Me, me, me. Fiction is a nice escape from that. You can also be a lot more truthful about a lot of things. Things I can't say in non-fiction, I can say in fiction. But there's that damn plot thing. I really resent plot. I like creating characters and environments. That's really fun for me. But having to create a story arc is something I have always resented."(A.V.)
What I'm objecting to is the use of the conjunction: the sentence in question is 100% tautologous.
Lily Allen isn't up to that kind of irony.
"The hardest thing after writing poetry is writing about poetry, as you must already have noticed. It makes the author sound either pretentiously airy-fairy or thuggish."*- AA Gill on poetry, in The Times.
* And what holds true for poetry, holds true for all arts criticism.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
But no. Blind Willie Johnson he is not. As far as I can tell, this guy actually just wacks the strings with his bow. The sound is bad. Really bad. I assume he does his wacking randomly, but when I passed him today, I paused to wonder. Maybe I've got this guy all wrong. Maybe he's actually playing some 'contemporary' piece. I'm thinking something like Georges Antheil's Violin Sonata (actually composed in the twenties, but believe me, it'll do).
So, bearing this in mind, how much money should one drop into this maestro's velvet-lined violin case? The going rate for a Festival Saver ticket to the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is £290. I reckon that ought to buy Blind Violin Guy a few lessons.
Angry Jose Mourinho allegedly thumped a Manchester United fan after his team was beaten at Old Trafford.p.s. No comment on The Arsenal's desperate display in Rome last night, except this: COME ON YOU BEAUTIES!!!!!
"House has no friends because of his dedication to discovering and telling the truth. I suppose that's sort of the definition of a hero."
"The thinking woman's sex symbol"
- Playboy 20Q, 2006
"I’m more stubbly and grumpy than bright and shiny."
-Playboy interview, February 2009*
"I’ve had it a lot better than many people. I went to a pub with Kenneth Branagh once and a man shouted, ‘Oi, Branagh! You’re a cunt!'"
- The Times interview, March 2009
* NB "sketch shows like Blackadder..." ?? And anyone who has to write "very funny" so the audience registers that a Brit cracked a joke...
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Two of Saddam's half-brothers were also found guilty. They are to be executed.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Monday, 9 March 2009
1228hrsAt time of writing Paul was once again leaving his desk (a 'bowel movement', in fact), having already posted warning that this event might be 'smaller'.
Movements: 3, by midday
Average size: 3x normal (all of them)
Notes: at a push, could probably go again
Average size: 3x 3x normal (all of them), 1x normal
[Thanks to PC]
All three Arsenal goals were absolute belters. Vela's first was exquisite, and Eboue's third was vintage Wenger-era Arsenal. But Eduardo's volley for the second was genuinely one of the best goals I've ever seen (it reminded me of a goal I scored myself against Farley House when I was ten - though mine was better). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, check it out:
I say 'one of the best goals I've ever seen' because I would still rank Marco Van Basten's strike in the Euro 88 final as the best I've ever seen:
Even with the crappy picture quality it looks too good to be true.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
However, I doubt we can recall ever having felt so distanced from a writer comrade as we do right now from Julie Myerson, who has managed to offer the worst excuse for writing a book that we have ever heard:
"The reason I wrote about it is there is an emergency out there in this country and it's called skunk."Dear Hunter S. Thompson, Please return from the dead to save our writerly souls.
Meanwhile, Ms. Myerson could do a lot worse than take a look at this.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Couple of corking games so far today. The Netherlands upsetting the Dominican Republic is one for the ages. And the game just now between the US and Canada was an absolute belter. So damn good to see this mattering so much to both teams. I'm a huge supporter of the WBC. Loved the inaugural classic (I was livin in America at the time), even though too many Americans pretended it didn't matter (after being totally outplayed, frankly, by the smallball masters of Korea and Japan). Today, the Rogers Center in Toronto was packed to the brim, and the players really meant it out there. Canada took the nailbiting loss hard. The Americans were pumped (and I love the scrappy team of gamers the US is fielding - workhorses like Youkilis, Pedroia, McCann, Victorino, et al, are always gonna mean it for you).
Man, am I stoked. This is so damn great. Worth staying in on a Saturday night for. Kneeded some homemade sausage pizza, blended some fresh homemade pesto for the left over dough balls. Things are looking good right now. It's Panama vs. Puerto Rico. Hells yeah.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Top of the lie list is 1984 by George Orwell. In second place, War and Peace by Leo Toystory. In third, James Joyce's Ulysses.
I am sure I have pretended to have read books that I've never even touched. I remember once chatting up a girl by telling her I'd read Understanding Cystitis from cover-to-cover. I believe I once caught my fellow amnesiac doing exactly the same thing.
However, in my defence, I am also quick to admit to having failed in my efforts to read certain books. I have no shame confessing that I have tried on four separate occassions to read Ulysses, and have never made it further than half way through the damn thing. I honestly think the book is unreadable. My old man claims that it's his favourite book of all time, and I just know he is lying.
Then again, he always did pretty well with the chicks. So maybe pretending to understand James Joyce is sexier than pretending to have understood cystitis.
Just a thought.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Iranian Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircraft, you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.'[Thanks to ZWHS]
Aircraft: 'This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.'
Air Defense Radar: 'You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!'
Aircraft: 'This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. Send 'em up, I'll wait!'
Air Defense Radar: ...
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Neb. man says he put cat in bong three times(Thanks to Frank)
20-year-old facing charges says feline would ‘act like a stoned person’
OMAHA, Neb. - A man who stuffed his girlfriend's cat into a makeshift bong and smoked marijuana through it said Tuesday that he had done it on other occasions and that it calmed the cat down.
This, from one architect to some other architects, is possibly the most life-negating bit of prose I have ever had the misfortune to read.
Again I have just inherited plans where the toilet layouts are too small… I have, however, discovered where the problem occurs (assuming its not just bad planning)Well, do you? Wanna join the group? Be honest now... You do, doncha?
THE METRIC HANDBOOK is WRONG.
3.6 illustrates a WC cubicle with an in-swinging door of 1550mm – this DOES NOT COMPLY with BS6465-2-1996 (pp10/ pdfp14) or PartM (clause 5.14a)
To help overcome this problem in the future (apart from this email rant) I have added additional (microstation) cells to the file G:\904-CAD\0-CAD-Data\001-V85Standards\cell\CELLS-ROOM DATA\Sanitary.cel
The cells are:
WC-Cubicle-ASContourBTW-PL (Plan BTW WC Cubicle)
WC-CubicleAmbulant-ASContourBTW-PL (Plan BTW WC Ambulant Cubicle)
Please. Please, please do not plan toilet cubicles with in-swinging doors of only 1500mm deep
Further to this and the office meeting a few weeks back, the delivery group has been split into three groups – of which I am looking at METHODOLOGY. The main intention of this group is to develop a family of ‘standards’ that the office can use and refer to.
It would be great to know if any of you have:
× any specific ideas on what could be included in this
× standards that you have already developed on projects
× or want to join the group
From this we can develop some useful guides and ways of working in the office and hopefully avoid fire-fighting on site so users can fit into toilet cubicles!
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
I was getting the old barnet primped this morning when I realised my flies were 100% undone.
With a mug of Tetley's in one hand and a copy of The Gulag Archipelago in the other, I was unable to do anything about it until my stylist went to fetch my coat.
Whereupon I surreptitiously zipped up - forgetting, of course, that I was in a roomful of mirrors and my actions would be visible to everyone present.
Monday, 2 March 2009
"I'm going to fucking kill myself!" shouted the new admission. "I'm going to fucking kill myself!"- Kinky Friedman, Steppin' On A Rainbow
"You'll do nothing of the sort," said the shrink calmly. "I want you to take your meds and relax, and this afternoon we have a wonderful treat. The circus is in town and Bozo the Clown is coming by to give us a special matinee show. You just watch Bozo the Clown for a little while and, believe me, your heart will feel considerably lighter."
"Doctor," said the man. "I am Bozo the Clown."
Man goes to doctor. Say's he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, 'Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.' Man bursts into tears. Says, 'But, doctor... I am Pagliacci.'- Alan Moore, Watchmen
He sent me this:
I met a tart the other night and she said, "Pleased to meet ya."It's by Barry Humphries, I'm told.
So I looked and said with a jerk of my head, "Well, how's about a feature?"
I grew more bold
As we drank ice cold.
She got a packet of fags out.
I said: "More beer?"
She said: "No thanks dear.
"Tonight I've got the flags out."
[Thanks to CG]
life is too important to be taken seriously!I was staring at this card yesterday and wondering if it was at all likely that Oscar added an exclamation mark to the end of his philosophical postulation. I guessed not.
So this morning I looked it up. Turns out - and apologies for not already knowing this - that not only did Oscar not include a bloody exclamation mark, but that the whole line is a sodding misquote.
What Oscar actually wrote was:
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.The line was spoken by Lord Darlington in Act I of Lady Windermere's Fanny (or something).
I should add that the card is - of course - written in kiddy handwriting. As for me, I am now going to fold the card away and listen to Modern Life is Rubbish by Blur.