Sunday, 30 August 2009

Worst synopsis for a film ever

"Vinnie Jones takes on a 2,000 year-old warrior from a bog."
- As seen just now on Virgin media. Can't remember the name of the film, thank God.

Indefinition - 8

Double-entry book-keeping, n. Pornographic act involving librarians.

Overheard on flight EZY8853

  • "I started reading A Brief History of Time, but he lost me when it got to the sciencey bit."
  • "If you want to watch our short programmes, just look at the screens overhead."
  • "The weather [in Sharm el Sheikh] is... pretty much as you see it out the window."
The last, at least, was ironically. Sorry - purposefully ironic.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Friendly advice

"Just come out. Forget about your fucking novel."
- My mate Jack on the phone just now.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Opening remarks

"I'm a writer.

I'm a writer, but so far nothing I've written has ever been published.

Ernest Hemingway once said all he wanted to do was write one true sentence. He also tried to scratch an itch in the back of his head with a shotgun.

I've always dreamed of being a famous author - of creating an important work, something that connected with people and helped them as they suffered through the human condition. Also, something that made a shitload of cash....

I don't find the creative process in itself rewarding enough, I have to be honest. I wanna reach an audience."
- Lance Clayton (AKA Rob Williams), in World's Greatest Dad

Captions of the day so far - 2

From Colombo's glossy celebrity monthly, Hi!!:

  • "A Girl doing her best in the hearing impaired long jump event."

  • "A rear treat for these differenty able children."
This last, readers will be relieved to know, accompanied a totally innocent photograph of children on a merry-go-round.

Captions of the day so far

  • Fruity: According to Mr Simpkins, the lime has a 'particularly lurid' expression on its face during its encounter with a lemon

  • Debauched: The lime enjoys a similarly smutty experience with a willing pair of cherries

Taken from here.

(Thanks to RN)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Over the last thirty years or so, it has become almost a Parliamentary rule that disgrace visits the two main parties in different ways. Tories are busted for sex, and Labourites are busted for graft.
- Julian Barnes, writing for The New Yorker... in March 1990)

Apart from Barnes' telling prescience (or, at least, his accurate analysis of the cyclical inevitability of political sleaze) I am reminded that, thanks to the many and various evils of the English language, 'graft' can mean - as a noun, in the political sense - 'rifling the public petty (and not-so-petty) cash box' and - as a verb, in the rugby-playing, gruff-Northerners-tilling-the-fields kind of sense - 'working hard and (implicitly) earning legitimately and (for added virtue) by the sweat of one's brow'.

But, because this is English, though the word simultaneously has these two meanings, it cannot, (of course) mean them both at the same time.

Overheard at the Salem Public Library, Vol. 4

1. Librarian answering the phone: "Salem Public Library, how may I help you?" Woman on the phone: "Yes, hello, you're located in Manchester correct?" Librarian: "Um, no."

2. Different librarian, answering another phone call: "Yes sir, just one moment, I'll get that information for you...ok, here it is. It's spelled L-A-M-B, and the definition is, 'a young sheep'. Is that all? Ok, bye."


4. "Do you guys have that book by that chick Annie Frank? She wrote diaries and shit..."

Patrons of the Week: Dustin Hoffman, Jennifer Lopez

(Courtesy of Mrs. Dee Dee Cusack, the AR's mole in the SPL)

Eire land?

Speaking of Ryanair, whenever a Ryanair flight (succesfully) lands, a triumphant fanfare pipes up over the cabin intercom. The fanfare is accompanied by the supposedly comforting words, "90% of Ryanair flights land on time!"

As my sister was quick to point out: "The other 10% crash."

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Smoking - 3

A little late in the day, I know; but (surely) the greatest headline never written, from back when Sven Goran Eriksson was caught diddling his personal assistant at the FA:

No smoke without a Faria Alam

Smoking - 2

Further (im)ponderable:

I recently heard a Ryanair stewardess trying to flog 'smoke-free cigarettes'. Question is, do I still have to hide in the loo to 'smoke' them?

Thought for the day

Is smoking smokeless cigarettes still smoking?

Surely there's no smoke without... smoke.


Monday, 24 August 2009


Watching Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night, I couldn't help noticing that the West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola began a sentence in his post-match interview with the phrase, "At the end of the day..."

It really is amazing how quickly foreign managers and players pick up the worst English language football clichés when they come to manage or play for clubs in the Land of the World's Worst Football Clichés. Zola's missive brought to mind a piece I wrote for The Lizard, back when Fabio Capello had just been appointed England manager, which (seeing how I wrote it 'n' all) for your viewing pleasure (and to fill some space on this page) I will exclusively republish here (so that your computer doesn't crash when you CLICK THIS LINK):

How to speak Footballese
Essential lessons for the new England manager

by Dominic Hilton
Thursday, December 13, 2007

The fashionable suggestion that the new manager of the England football team should actually be able to speak English is, to my mind, hopelessly racist. The ability to speak English has never been required of England’s football players. Why single out the manager all of a sudden?

I’ll tell you why: because the two leading candidates for the job – Fabio Corleone and Marcello Lipsmacker – happen to be Italian persons of Italian persuasion, that’s why. Questioning the ability of these two footballing masterminds to lead the England team to international glory just because they can’t ask for directions to Wembley Stadium without sounding like that character in 'Allo 'Allo who worships Mussolini and chases all the women around Nazi HQ is bigoted xenophobia on a new and frightening scale (and frankly, I’m astonished that London’s Mayor Livingstone hasn’t organised a boycott of the entire English nation, yet).

In the modest opinion of this column, instead of abusing these foreign gentlemen for being Italian persons of Italian persuasion, we should be doing everything we can to help them to integrate, assimilate and melt into our culture by teaching them the rudiments of footballese in the paragraphs below.

So, in the spirit of shared mutual understanding and global football peace, here is a list of words and phrases that I am confident will help the new England manager bring home the World Cup (to England):

“Give it some welly.” A common phrase with agricultural origins. Due to massive investment shortfalls, in strict arable terms most football pitches in England are actually big bogs of muddy swamp peat or sod where cows go to pat. As a consequence, English footballers traditionally play the game wearing Wellington boots. To “give it some welly” is to hooooooooooooooooooof* the football (“it”) with one of your (two) Wellington boot(s) (“welly” or “wellies”). Whether or not the “welly” needs to be actually attached to your foot in order to “give it some” continues to be a subject of heated debate.

“Get stuck in.” This popular phrase has similar origins to “Give it some welly.” To “get stuck in” is literally to get stuck in the mud because your Wellington boots have sunk into the pitch, rendering you immobile.

“At the end of the day.” A phrase used by footballing people at the beginning of every single sentence they ever speak. For example, “At the end of the day, give it some welly.” or “At the end of the day, get stuck in.”

“It’s a game of two halves.” This phrase recalls the days when underprivileged working-class children used to practice their skills in the streets of Newcastle using an orange (or grapefruit) because their parents were too busy in the pub blowing all their child support money on brown ale to be able to afford to buy their kids a real football. Inevitably, the orange (or grapefruit) would split in half. Hence, “It’s a game of two halves.”

“The boy done good.” “Good” is cockney rhyming slang for “Robin Hood”. To “do” Robin Hood is to have had sexual intercourse with him. So, strictly speaking, “The boy done good” means “The boy is homosexual.”

“Hooooooooooooooooooooof!” From the Latin Huv. Shouted at footballers who are playing like donkeys (donkeys have hoofs). The traditionally poor standard of English football makes “Hooooooooooooooooooooooooof!” a popular chant with fans all over the land.

“You’re playing like a fairy.” From the chapter of the same name in J.M. Barrie’s childrens' classic Peter Pan.

“The Gaffer.” The gaffer is a senior member of a club’s staff who makes lots of gaffs. (Different from “The Guffer,” who is a player who uses his flatulence to propel himself down the wing.)

“He’s only gone down the wing and stuck it in the net, hasn’t he?”
A meaningless phrase. Also see: “He only gone up the wing and stuck it in the net, hasn’t he?”

“Wing(s).” A hairstyle that acts like a parachute when a player is dropped from a great height.

“Giggsy” [etcetera]
The obligatory attaching of a ‘y’ (pronounced: eeeeeeeeeeeee) to the end of every player’s name. So the current England team are officially known as: Robinsony, Richardsy, Ferdinandy, Terryy, Coley, Lampsy, Stevey, Becksy, Rooneyy, and so on until you forget whatever you planned to sayy.

“It’s a funny old game.” Literally, it’s funny when old people try to play the game of football. English comedy is full of classic routines involving geriatric pensioners with Zimmer frames trying to run around a football field and breaking their hip replacements.

“Man on.” See “The boy done good.”

“Kick-off.” A term of abuse, meaning “Go away!”

“By far the greatest team the world has ever seen.” Sung by fans of teams like Scunthorpe United.

“Couldn’t score in a brothel.” An insult never thrown at England star Wayne Rooney, who famously scored in a brothel with a granny called Auld Slapper.

“WAG.” The thing a footballer’s wife or girlfriend does with her painted finger when he refuses to hand over his credit card.

“Selling the dummy.” Literally, off-loading your stupidest player.

“Bung.” This needs no translation to Italians.

©, 2007


For those of you who (like me) are often miffed by the unnecessarily cryptic nature of some of the posting on this blog (mentioning no names, Smyth), I should make it clear right now that my fellow amnesiac [way too cryptic - Eds.] has biffed off to Sri Lanka for real, setting up shop in Colombo, teaching teenage girls home economics, or something. Hence the recent inactivity on Re(AR)view. Hope that's clearasil.

Myself, I just got back from France, which is preferable to Sri Lanka is every way but one: they don't play cricket in France. Fuck knows why. Probo cos they's French. But still... How can any nation pass up the fun that was yesterday at The Oval? (This may be the only mention of England's glorious victoire on this blog, mainly cos when you write funny (innit) it's hard as flambéed horse meat to write earnestly about anything that you can't stop grinning/tearing up about. Shame that.) I did watch a local boules tournament in a local village about the size of my foot. Or, at least, the boules players watched my sister and I as we tried to watch them. Admittedly, together we are very tall, Whop Corn and I (see images below for confirmation), but I thought the general level of staring over the course of our vacay was a little overdone (unlike our steaks, thank Dieu).

Anyhow, somewhat amusingly, I returned to find this message from my fellow amnesiac waiting for me in my inbox, sent about thirty seconds before I hauled ass across La Manche:
Will be getting internet hooked up at home, certainly by the time you're back from France. Post a holding note on the AR, meanwhile, to the effect that we are both away ('but not together...').

Vive la revaluation!
Couldn't have put it better myself. Which is probo why I didn't.

Friday, 14 August 2009

I'm a pervert

I can never hear the lyrics
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And you put the load right on me
without thinking... well, you know what.

Bad news bears no gifts

I'm at my parents house. We're off to France tomorrow on a family holiday. It's my sister's idea. She got it into her head some time ago that we should squeeze as many family holidays in as we can while... well, while we're still a nuclear family, I suppose. We did the same thing two years ago, for the first time in fourteen years. It went pretty well. Though I'm hoping this time we can avoid exchanging gunfire.

Anyway, my dad just bounded into the kitchen as I was layering Mexican hot sauce over my tuna salad. "Have you heard the weather forecast for when we're away?" he asked, an enormous grin stretched across his eighty-year-old face. He was out of breath. He'd actually run down from upstairs to deliver this news. "You mean here, in England? No, what?" I responded, clearly not wanting to hear his answer, gearing up to stab the messenger with my fork. Dad just stood there by the fridge, licking his lips, his grin still making him look like The Joker might look after reading The Code of the Woosters. Then, with undisguised glee in his voice to compliment the idiotic facial expression, dad said, "Sunny all week!"

After cursing the gods, I wondered: what is it with people enjoying bad news so much? Really, what are they getting out of it? In this specific case, was dad just happy to have it confirmed by the TV weather girl that sod's law is infallible? Or was he getting a kick out his son's (inevitable) grief at hearing that he's away for the one week of sun Britain will see this summer? Or is he actually happy that all of next week, stuck in the middle of the Loire valley, we'll be sitting around the pool cursing the bloody English weather?

Pulling a leech out of a hat

I just wasted my entire morning at the doctors (really, this time was the biggest waste of time of all time, and I have had more time wasted by more quacks over the past twelve years than anyone on Planet Earth). As I sat reading in the waiting room, surrounded my schweinfluenza victims in shellsuits, my attention was grabbed by the noticeboard directly in front of me. In amongst the usual government posters advertising chlamydia and telling you how to catch a sneeze (information people actually need, judging by even the shortest experience aboard public transport) there was a giant poster that read:

The Friends of [this medical centre] invite you to


Friday, 23rd October, 7:30pm

Nice to see they've got their priorities straight.

All hail the power of the individual

(Thanks to Whop Corn)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Status anxiety

I finally figured out how to change my Facebook settings from English (Pirate) to English (UK). I was having trouble understanding the Piratespeak. So much so that I couldn't figure out how to change away from it. I was, in a way, held captive by Pirate.

I am now having trouble understanding English (UK). Which, in another way, is a lot scarier.

The prince of tides

I had the good fortune last week to be serenaded at midnight on my birthday by my mates Dent May and his band.

Unfortunately, my camera battery had died and our efforts to record the moment for posterity fell as flat as the damn battery.

However, for a little taster of my joy, you could do a lot worse than check out THIS VERY SPECIAL FOOTAGE of Dent and the boys serenading the lovers and beach bathers on the French Riviera.

By contrast, my serenade went down in Brixton. You can't have everything, I s'pose.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Amnesiac Re(AR)review Goes International!

The Amnesiac Review is proud to announce the official opening of our Colombo office.

Please continue to send all correspondence to the usual address.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Minnie offences

My (gorgeous) friend/landlady Rebecca is (deliberately) feeling morbid today. At least she was, until she saw this news item, and sent it on to me:
Man Convicted of Groping Minnie Mouse at Disney

Published: August 11, 2009

Filed at 12:48 p.m. ET

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A 60-year-old man has been convicted of groping a woman in a Minnie Mouse costume at Walt Disney World.

John William Moyer of Cressona, Pa., told the judge he is innocent. His son said before sentencing that his father would never inappropriately touch a woman.

He was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor battery and sentenced to write the victim an apology, serve 180 days probation and complete 50 hours of community service. Moyer must also pay $1,000 in court costs and possibly undergo a mental evaluation.

The victim says she had to do everything possible to keep Moyer's hands off her breasts.
(NYT - yes, really)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Hollywood brings its A-game

The A-Team is/are moving to the big screen in a production rumoured to include actor Liam Neeson (not playing BA Baracus), actor Woody Harrelson (not playing BA Baracus), actor Bradley Cooper (not playing BA Baracus) and rapper Common.

The movie remake will see the Team meeting in Gulf War I - as opposed to Vietnam - and apparently will be "grittier" than the TV version. Says one source in The Metro, "The tone will be closer to the film versions of Mission: Impossible and Ocean's Eleven. People might die, but it'll be the fun kind of dying."

Dying of laughter, presumably...

Seen in Smarden

Countryside, innit.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Scam du jour

For all those lazy students/freelance journalists out there, here is a site that will solve all your deadline troubles.

[NB Off the record, and funny as that site is, the Amnesiac Review suggests you save your five bucks, and just send an e-mail to a non-existent address (your own, for example, with a string of numbers on the end), then FWD the rebounded mail to the correct recipient, pausing only to backdate the relevant details in the new draft...]

Despairing Adolescent

Two important notas you should bene about Rodin's Despairing Adolescent, no date, terracotta:

1) He has no date (see above).

2) He has no dick (see below).

Friday, 7 August 2009

The perils of smoking

A Greek woman accused of setting fire to a British tourist's genitals in Crete has appeared in court.

Maria Fanoudaki, 26, is accused of pouring a glass of Sambuca on his groin and setting it alight in a bar in the resort of Malia.

Her lawyer said the 20-year-old victim had fondled her, and may have sparked the blaze himself while trying to light a cigarette.


Least surprising headline 2009

On research

The things I didn't bother to Google? They happened to me firsthand.
- (Dr.) Denis Leary, Why We Suck: a Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Random, but kind of connected, thoughts

1. NewsCorp lost $3.4bn last year. Mainly thanks to giving away free online content.
2. The Amnesiac Review lost somewhere in the same region.
3. Thom Yorke says, "If you forget about the money issue for just a minute – if it's possible to do that, because it's people's livelihoods we're talking about – and you look at [the digitalisation of music] in terms of the most amazing broadcasting network ever built, then it's completely different."
4. Someone I know who may or may not be intimately connected to the music industry says, "I’m gonna hunt him down and slap him. Such a righteous prick. SO easy to say when you’re eight albums down the line on someone else’s promotional money. Ignorant prick."
5. There's a sect of fetishists called Feeders. Look it up for yourselves.

Quality Journalism Quote of the Day

"Nothing ruins a friendship quicker than inappropriate urination."
Lucy Mangan, smart lass, in the Guardian.

According to today's Guardian

61% of 15- to 24-year-olds don't think they should pay for music.

Two things:

1. Is that all?
2. Why?

No, really, why? I'm not judging. I just want to know. Why should music (or, ahem, words...) be free? I am yet to hear a/the good/decent/bad argument for this. Maybe I don't hang around enough 16-year-olds, or something (though nobody could accuse me of not trying). But what is their argument? Do they actually have one? How is demanding music be free any different than, say, me thinking Volvos or MacBooks should be free just cos I don't wanna pay for one?

Someone, please tell me. I'm an open-minded guy. It's just that - call me old-fashioned - but I cannot get my noggin around the idea that it's my right to own somebody else's creative output. (Or am I still not getting this?)


"In Britain, there is something close to despair among academicsn about the political process. Drugs are classified A, B and C, allegedly according to the degree of harm. But the theory ignores the immutable constitutional provision that laws are subject to the approval of the editor of the Daily Mail."
- Matthew Engel in the FT magazine.

p.s. Further down, Engel writes, "In Britain, with its top-down system of government, a notionally left-of-centre but illiberal administration and a hysterical press..." which I think is as neat a description of life here as you could ask for.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Young Republiguns

Best of PJ O'Rourke (before he became an old republicun'):

On the bourgeois condition

When the gods would form an ass,
First they make him middle-class,
Give him comic cares and woes,
And let his wife pick out his clothes.

On education

Education is not just a matter of learning things. There's a difference between learning and knowledge. It's the difference between Christy Turlington's phone number and Christy Turlington.

On arguing with the women in your life

If you can't prevail over an aged woman whose every weakness and foible you know and with whom you have been contending your entire life, how do you expect to do against a team from out of town?

On war

I know why most societies don't allow women in combat. Combat is just a battle to the death. You don't want it to turn into something really ugly like a marriage.

On writing careers

There is one thing worse than writing (I mean, other than getting a real job or cancer) - promoting what you've written.

On nascent writing careers

Good reporters don't ask any [interview] questions because they are too busy getting drunk with the author. The only decent questions come from the young reporters, who ask "Is writing really better than getting a real job or cancer?"

On music

Rock lyrics don't give rock musicians adequate scope for full intellectual expression because so few words rhyme with boogie.

On anatomy

For a purely untrustworthy human organ, the memory is right in there with the penis.

On fashion

Miniskirts caused feminism.
NB This all from one chapter - 'Essays, Prefaces, Speeches, Reviews and Things Jotted on Napkins' - of Age And Guile (beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut)

NB'issimi Age And Guile (PB edition) was a loving and generous leaving present from my fellow Amnesiac... who naturally kept the hardback copy for himself.

Thought for the day

Was Shakespeare actually a woman?
"I and my bosom must debate awhile,
And then I would no other company"
--Henry V, 4.1.31-32
(Thanks to Dee Dee for the question)

No shit

This - word for word - courtesy of Googleads:

Poo poo lesbians doing the poo poo
at least one new video per week!
(Follow link at your peril. And no, I won't tell you what I was searching for.)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Wise words

"Piece of advice: don't let all these well-intentioned advisors mess you up."
- Congressman Matthew Santos, The West Wing

The perfect mensch

[Thanks to Jewdas]

I am not a journalist

And here's why.

Monday, 3 August 2009

And somewhat to my surprise

I am a center-right social libertarian
Right: 1.37, Libertarian: 5.32

Political Spectrum Quiz

I'm intrigued. Where did my fellow amnesiac and I diverge?

I'm guessing he voted against marijuana being legalised (the fascist), while I voted (without enthusiasm) in favour of a statement like 'A person's morality is between him and God, and no business of the government' (I can't remember the exact wording; I'm listening to TMS).

I was also hugely enthusiastic about gay issues, whereas everyone knows my fellow amnesiac is hiding in the closet like a choirboy who doesn't want his throat baptized by the choirmaster.

But even more terrifying than the results - I'm more RIGHT-WING than HIM? - was my near total failure to cast a vote on most of the issues.

I reckon about 80% of the time I voted 'neutral'. Which basically means I don't actually hold any opinions about most of the major issues of our time. And my neutrality was most evident on the big questions, too, like 'Should we intervene in foreign affairs/start wars against dictators/embark on humanitarian missions/rebuild nations/save the world/protect democracy/etc?' Whereas I was all 'STRONGLY DISAGREE' with statements like 'Bongs should be confiscated by the FBI'.

This shouldn't be a problem, in normal circumstances. But... Well, it's just that I used to work as a (sort-of) political commentator (of sorts). What the fuck was I ever doing?

Somewhat to my surprise

My Political Views
I am a centrist moderate social libertarian
Left: 0.85, Libertarian: 1.94


The 'Average'

I'm not sure what's more mortifying: to discover that I'm actually LEFT of centre, or that I'm there with... everyone else.

[Thanks to the Political Spectrum Quiz)

Chatterday Night Live

"Don't take what I'm going to say as a reason to disagree with me..."
- Dominic Hilton

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Finally, conclusive proof that an English girl will do anything (by which I mean, shave her arse) if she's had enough to drink

(Thanks to RN)

Recent Facebook activity

ASH Smyth rejected a Smile on Slide FunSpace
ASH Smyth declined to join Anyone selling a folding bike?
ASH Smyth ignored an invitation to High Noon to Jacko's Hour
ASH Smyth refused to add his birthday to some bloke's MyCalendar
ASH Smyth RSVP'd in the negative to Six Tricks' Summer Serenade
ASH Smyth will not sign up to The "Day Without Facebook"
ASH Smyth is resolutely neutral when it comes to waging Mafia Wars
ASH Smyth cannot help Find Libby somewhere to live
ASH Smyth does not care What [His] Name Really Means

Fair warning

Seriously funny

You can say serious things through the medium of comedy. You just can't really mean them.

Checking my junk

credibly beanbag

A S H Smyth
You're a twat. (test)