Friday, September 27, 2002

It's demo time on Saturday. See you there!

Thursday, September 26, 2002

You gotta love those crazy Danes. This from the Danish EU Presidency web site.

"The Danish Tour de France commentator and author Jørgen Leth will also stop by to tell why the bicycle sport is so popular among French intellectuals."

So what’s going on in the news today.

Well, there’s the fascinating story of Richard Van Pham, 62 year old Vietnamese immigrant to the US, who set sail from Long Beach to Catalina one day. Four months later, he was rescued of the coast of Costa Rica. What should have been a three hour journey went south (literally) when his mast and radio broke in a storm.

Then there’s Prince Charles meddling in politics. Beats being a tampon, I suppose.

The Guardian has a feature on treating Alzheimer’s disease with cannabis. Perhaps this man could do with some. Apposite as I’m currently reading a book which has as one of its characters a retired man suffering from this degenerative disorder.

Ooops! Managed to delete my post on Ceefax.

If I can remember what it was all about....

Yes, I don;t watch much TV these days. Mainly sport and even that doesn;t enthuse me that much. Most of the good stuff has been gobbled up by satellite (I hate Murdoch). [Aside: I think I said something about only five UK channels here, nit like the States where in many places you get 10 or more terrestial channels.]

But, I am glad to see that Ceefax is still going. What is Ceefax, you ask? Well, if you don;t live in the Uk you may not ahve come across this old fashioned text service which provides news, weather, sport and other information. I think it uses a sideband of the broadcast frequency. it allows the channels to pump out a crude text service. It;s sort of interactive in that you use the four colour buttons on your remote to move between pages or make other selections. It's dead clunky - think Spectrum ZX. And, you can only get a certain amount of charcters on a page. So the drafting of pages is a real art, especially when it comes to doing clever stuff like pictures - big pixels! - and maps or tables.

I'm a bit surpised that youthe channels still do ceefax as it must be costly to retain all those people who create and upload the pages. But, glad they do. Me for one I still dig those daily Ceefax quizzes.

Any more Ceefax stories out there?

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Dead excited am I. There seems to be tons of great sounding CDs and concerts due in the next few months. This week alone sees the release of CDs by Low, Ryan Adams, Steve Earle and Schneider TM. Coming up soon, the new release from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, those crazy Canadian anarchist types. Seen them five times now and I got to tell you I think they're marvellous. Those I've taken to see them have been less impressed - why do they play in the dark, repetitive, no words, what's it all about. But, I'm a fervant fan. Guess they wouldn't be too pleased with fan worship or anything so burgeois. Who cares.

On the concert scene, picked up a load of tickets for the upcoming London Jazz Festival. Don't know much about some of the stuff we're going to see, but that's part of the attraction. You've got to try new things.

It looks like we might go to an event in the International Poetry Festival too. Hey, manic!

Sigur Ros, beautiful Icelandic music, beckons next week. But, before that there's an acoustic set by Turin Brakes at the Bush, and laid back alt/country sounds of Hem and Lincoln. I've got my shuffling shoes on!

There's this guy at work who is so rude. He never says thank you when you open a door for him. He never opens doors for people. He stinks, too. Bath, man! All in all, a horrible person. People skills, please.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

You'll notice I didn't blog yesterday. Well, it got too busy at work and I had no time at home. I'll write more about yesterday when I get to work.

Surfed on to this blog this am. No idea what it's about, but I like it. Has always the qualities to make it a good blog - it's irreverent, witty, to the point and totally existential. Have a look.

Had to hang out the washing this morning. One fo my least favourite chores, cos I always "do it wrong". Hey, this must be a guy thing.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Been away for a week in France. No internet access, no laptop, just sun, books and a bit of music.

Will start blogging again tomorrow.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Enough with the politics!

Whilst I'm on my soap box, I'm reading Below the Breadline, an account of a UK journalist trying to live off the minimum wage of £4.10 an hour. This is not new stuff. It's empathic social commentary or something like that. The book quotes Orwell's Down and Out in London and Paris as an influence.

But, it's a pretty good read and illuminating on how tough it must be for people in the underclasses. Although the author, Fran Abrams, says that there is, according to (lies, damn lies and) Government statistics, only 1% or 2% living at this level in the UK, I can't help think there is about a similar number or more living below this level living on the streets, in hostels or squats, taking jobs for cash only in the gray market.

Also read Noam Chomsky's 9-11 recently, but I'll resist the urge to add my views on the anniversary etc.

Okay, I can't resist. This from the Guardian:

On holiday in the Black Sea, Russian's president Vladimir Putin phoned George Bush to voice Russia's condolences. "In Russia we say that time heals everything, but there are things that we cannot forget and which must not be forgotten," Mr Putin said.

Yeah, like Chechnya.

Glad to see that the European Union - home of the butter mountain - is going to tackle obesity. Good image - fat Eurocrats and politicians deciding how to tackle obesity over lunch of pate de froid gras.

Can't help thinking that it might be a better idea to help starving people than fat people. Okay, stop people getting fat. But, that might mean persuading kids not to eat sugar or go to McDonalds (law suit coming?). Don't want to upset the captains of industry now, do we?

More on food.

Been looking at quite a few blogs to get an idea of what's out there, who does it and what makes a good site. Found quite a funny Aussie site satirising Prime Minister John Howard. A lot of other stuff seems to be written by Malaysian teenagers. But, I can't help feeling that I've only scratched the surface. Of course, what I'm also thinking is has anyone stumbled upon my drivel?

Speaking of aussie blogs, I came across this one which seems to consist of an ongoing battle between man and dog.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Apparently, the earth has a second moon and it's called Cruithne.

Furthermore, scientists now think that the earth may have captured a new natural satellite in the last few months. This new object goes by the catchy title of J002E2. Romantic, eh?

Perhaps the sky is falling.

Only two days 'til me holiday!

Monday, September 09, 2002

Cold House by Hood won out. Check out some of the excellent fare here.

Late for work. Can't decide on MDs to take to listen to on the train. Well, got Mum, Hood, Lob and Mogwai. That'll do though they're pretty much peas out of the same pod.

Read lots of blogs. Why are they all teenagers?

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Sign on railings: "No Bikes, please"

So I guess cars parked on the pavement is okay then.

Friday, September 06, 2002

“I am a donut” You need to ask?

When President John F Kennedy spoke at the Berlin Wall in June 1963, he uttered the phrase “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Unfortunately, “Berliner” is a type of doughnut loved by Germans. Or, this could be an urban myth.

Or, it could be that I’m a deep fried ball of dough with jam inside.

Five irritating "verbal ticks" of my work colleagues:

"If you know what I mean" - No, please explain to me.
"What it is is" - What is it?
"To be honest/To tell you the truth" - You mean you usually lie to me?
"Basically what it is basically is [blah]. So, basically [blah]." - Stick to basics.
"It's all gone pear shaped" - Would that be Conference or Bartlett?

I blame Thatcher.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Monday night I went to the Royal Albert Hall for this season's 57th Prom concert. Ingo Metzmacher ("the young German conductor" according to the programme notes; chunky chappie if you ask me) conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's First Symphony ("Titan") and Holidays Symphony by American composer Charles Ives.

I was puzzling whilst watching the orchestra as to what sort of free time they get. Do they work and/or rehearse every day? What sort of holidays do they get? How many moonlight? And, what about the guy who plays a few bars on the Jew's Harp (and nothing else for the entire concert) during the Ives? Does he get full pay?

It was a grand old concert even though I couldn't solve those puzzles. The Ives is a bit of an acquired taste with loads of passages of conflicting marches. It would be as it commemorates four distinctly American holidays - Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Thanksgiving. I never realised that Memorial Day, was originally called Decoration Day. It celebrates not, as you might imagine, the beginning of the summer or, indeed, the Indianapolis 500 motor race, but the US Civil War dead. The final movement is also named after Forefathers' Day, which commemorates the landing of the Pilgrim "fathers" in what is now Massachussetts.

Mahler, on the other hand, was a more traditional symphony. However, there was some non traditional instrumentation with off-stage trumpets and what I think was a bass clarinet. Good rousing stuff and a change from my normal fare of guitar bands.

Review of concert in The Times.
Review of concert in The Guardian.

Authorities in Vilnius, Lithuania have deployed some 300 cardboard cut-out traffic cops reports the BBC. Road safety in Lithuania is pretty crap with a death rate in road accidents more than double that of the European Union. Slightly reminiscent of the time in San Francisco when bridge tolls where raised for driver only cars - lowered for carpools. Some entrepenurially minded wag sold loads of inflatable "passengers" so that commuters could dodge the higher tolls. Cardboard cops, inflatable passengers, CCTV, speed cams. What next: holographic bobbies on the beat?

Speaking of Vilnius, the city's rather good looking web site reports on the latest world conference on Esperanto, the invented "world" language (sometimes mocked as Desperanto). Vilnius beat out Beijing for the honour. Wow.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Blimey! Not another Blog?!
Well, sorry it is another one to add to the list of pointless ramblings and drivel
This site will fill up over time or until I get bored of doing it. I wonder how many people set these things up and then don't bother?
In the meantime, have a look at my more conventional site.
Until we meet again, have a donut.