Thursday, June 30, 2005

That's No Typo, That's A Space Station

This blog probably leaves the casual reader with the impression that I am a feckless waster, incapable of turning my mind to anything more sophisticated than the purchase of inappropriate footwear, the consumption of Philip Morris Corp.'s finest produce and the relevance of Nick Cave's lyrics to my own personal circumstances.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. In my professional life, my dedication to creating outstanding marketing copy for the technology industry is unsurpassed (or so it says here on my bio).

Now I'm not going to mention any names, but some clients are more picky about their copywriters' stock-in-trade than others. Today I was treated to a briefing from one big technocorp about the correct use of grammar and punctuation. About halfway through, the speaker flashed up a slide showing the opening credits of Star Wars.

Speaker: "See here, after 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away' - there are clearly four dots. Dot dot dot dot. This is wrong. An ellipsis should only have three dots. Write that down."

Audience Member: "I think one's a star."

Well, it made me laugh.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Market Forces

Venturing out in search of lunch at about 3pm (the time at which it became apparent that coffee and Marlboro Blues alone cannot sustain one for an entire day) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the untidy assortment of drunks and smackheads that frequent Acton Market Place had been swept aside in favour of - *gasp* - a market.

A French market, at that. With real French stallholders selling real French stuff, and speaking real French to the denizens of W3. Who, even more surprisingly, turn out to be no mean Francophones themselves. Gosh. It was almost like being back in Saint Chinian, but without the hordes of Brits.

I resisted the urge to buy one of those huge blocks of olive oil soap (it would have just sat around in the bathroom getting dirty), but I did do my bit for the bourgeoisie by purchasing some fantastic brie, some tomme de Savoie and some wild boar sausage. Then undid it again by nipping into Morrisons to get baked beans and fags.

But all that's beside the point. The real question is: does this mean Acton is going all gentrified? Might we be spared the need to move back up North?

No, that's not the real question. The real question is totally unrelated to French markets and London property hotspots. The *real* question is: how the hell am I going to get to Islington tonight when my feet are quite literally - and for once I'm not exaggerating* - a mass of seeping, open wounds?

I swear, if you peer through all the blood and pus and frayed nerve endings, you can actually see the bones in my left foot. Is there something particularly wrong with me, or do all women suffer in this way? If the latter, why, for the love of God, do we keep buying flip-flops? Have we no sense whatsoever?

Probably best if no one answers that, actually.

* Much.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Edit Me, Edit Me, You Wild Bitch*

In the end, all my efforts to indulge in any culture at all last night were scuppered by a work crisis that unfolded in a highly unwelcome fashion at 8pm and lasted pretty much until 1am.

Still, you know me (well, some of the less fortunate among you do). Given the choice between going to see Star Wars Episode 88 And A Half and seeing Hem play at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, I'd always rather have been sitting in my office Thought Cupboard, where the ambient temperature is something approaching the surface of Mercury, editing HTML files into the small hours.

But! The small interlude during which I did actually manage to have dinner with Mr P resulted in a comedy website idea so amazing that it will either a) ensure my immediate entry into the annals (no. 875) of internet celebrity, or b) have been done to death already. Must investigate forthwith.

* This title has absolutely nothing to do with me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cliché Régime*

Just been reminded of another weekend quality supplement columnist cliché that really makes my teeth crawl. And that is when London-based hacks put a "the" before the names of certain streets. Like the Finchley Road, and the Portobello Road. That might have been OK in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's day, but now it's just horrible, affected** and grating. Cease and desist this instant!

*stands back in anticipation of pitchforks, brickbats, burning planks, etc.*

* I know, I'm sorry. That's why I'm going on that sub-editing course.
** I know, I'm sorry. Pot, kettle, etc.


Prime-time, plasma-screen viewing of my newly-delivered Heathers DVD last night elicited the following observations:

That crush I had on teen-era Christian Slater? *So* over.

That crush I had on teen-era Winona Ryder? That's so over, too.

THE DIVINE MS P: It's amazing that even in 1988 they show the teachers smoking in the staffroom.

ME: I was allowed to smoke at my desk in 1998 at [insert name of top five global PR agency here] - but only after 6pm.

MR P: I was allowed to smoke at Pontin's - but only Superkings.

Which made me laugh a lot.

Not Guilty

The jury has at last returned a verdict on the Hem case, and the verdict is "Thou shalt go and see Star Wars Episode 88 And A Half instead." Populist, functioning-adult patroclus scores yet another victory over mopy, sixth-form patroclus. You go, populist, functioning-adult patroclus!

Woah. Really must get these split personalities under control.

Next up: Husky Rescue on Fri as previously ordained, or party with beautiful people in Crystal Palace? Back to the Ivy for you, twelve good men and true.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Sorry about this, but I seem to have rather a lot to say for myself today. While trawling the interthing for "critical quotes" for the below post, I found someone referring to Andrew Lawrence (no idea what he's going to be like, by the way) as "like Art Garfunkel on acid".

Now this expression has to be up there in my Top Five Most Hated Media Clichés (oo oo, I feel another list coming on!). Anyone, anyone at all, who describes anything at all as being like anyone or anything at all "on acid" has a) clearly never actually taken LSD, b) probably not even read or seen Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and c) even less imagination than I have (although that last one could be pushing it).

I almost forgot the point of this post there, but here we go, without further ado I am ushering in my first Regular Feature! It may be - and indeed is - completely ripped off the Neophiliacs bit in Private Eye, but I reckon it could be a winner! All you have to do is alert me to the most pitiful example you can find of a "like x on acid" simile from a recent Weekend Supplement and you could win a super prize!

And I'm pretentiously calling it "Lactobacillus Acidophilus", which, as any fule kno, means "milky parasite that likes acid" - a superb description of all broadsheet supplement columnists* everywhere.

Let Battle Commence!

* Just in case I'm offending any of my lovely friends here, I'd like to clarify that I mean career columnists. And of those, mainly Kate Muir.

London! Cultcha! Prosperity!*

And with one final mighty effort she ruptures the chains of accidie (thanks cello) that have been holding her captive for, ooh, about the last five years, and decides to spend the coming week indulging in the finest pop culture the capital has to offer, to wit:

Monday: Andrew Lawrence ("creepy but prodigal") in either Tooting or Islington, depending on which listings you believe. Costs £2 less to see him in Tooting, but when you throw the potentially irreparable pyschological damage caused by going South Of The River (TM) into the mix, I'd rather pay £7 in Islington.

Wednesday: Will she or won't she go and see Hem ("like a whippet picking its way across nightingale boards") at the Shepherd's Bush Empire? The ticket's in the bag, but the jury's gone out for a very long lunch and shows no signs of returning anytime soon.

Friday: back to Islington for the mighty Husky Rescue ("As clear as icewater, as dazzling as the Aurora Borealis, as jolting as a splash in the face from a Finnish lake" - steady on) plus Bluesky Research ("like Ride and the Verve watching the Wicker Man") and Lowgold ("an extremely unlucky band").

What with all that and a top girlie lunch on the cards for Thursday, it's shaping up to be the Best Week Ever. Woohoo!

* to be uttered in yer best mockney accent.

Friday, June 17, 2005

It Was The Best Bleep Whirr Of Bleep Times Whirr

Forgot to say - in what must surely be a serious contender for the Competition Of The Year Competition, Penguin is inviting the nation's musicians to make moody dance tracks out of such classics of literature as A Tale Of Two Cities, Moby Dick and Spot's Playtime Storybook. Go forth.

P.S. Yes, I know it's been going for five weeks already. You heard it here later.

A Pretty Good Day, All Things Considered

In sharp contrast with yesterday, today was pretty good. The joy started early when I phoned an old friend to whom I hadn’t spoken in a while, viz: First Direct, to be greeted with the glad tidings that after years of miserable penury I’d somehow managed to pay off one of my myriad personal loans. Hurrah! I celebrated in fine style by immediately taking out a bigger one. Hurrah again! Still, that’ll see off the gargantuan Scottish builder.

Next, got a cab to Paddington with time to spare (this never usually happens, I normally arrive at railway stations about 23 seconds before my train is due to depart), so I elected to celebrate my new-found liquidity by purchasing a fabulous pair of beaded olive green flip-flops (Only a tenner? I’m buying another nine pairs tomorrow! Easy come, easy go!) of which surely even notable fashion guru Pashmina would approve. Excellent.

Profited from the merciful two-hour respite from the internet afforded by the train journey to read the Economist Technology Quarterly, which was full of thrilling technomancy like transmitting data through human skin (bring it on!) and wearing flash drives as earrings (not so sure about that one. Pash?).

Got picked up from Pershore (I don't know, somewhere off the shoulder of Orion?) station by M. Either the clear country air and rural solitude have finally gone to M's head or he's recently been on Pimp My Ride (note to self: must write to MTV about "Pimp My Cat" programme idea), because he turned up in an outrageous black, glossy, leather-interior pick-up truck with "WARRIOR" emblazoned on the side in huge silver letters. Later on I'll learn that this post-millennial warhorse is very good for indiscriminately mowing down small children outside the local primary school when racing to deliver your guest to the railway station 23 seconds before the train is due to depart.

As you would expect, M. and I worked very hard all afternoon on The Project From Hell, and at no point did we go to Upton Snodsbury ("The Jewel Of Worcestershire!") for an expense-account lunch in an alarming French-themed pub, arse about on IM or trawl eBay for stuffed rams' heads. Oh no.

All in all (barring the interminable, cramped, sweaty train journey home, which I temporarily had to abandon at Hayes & Harlington ("The Jewel Of Middlesex!") due to The Horror Of It All), A Good Day. Super!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mopy Twat

I hereby swear I will never whinge about being middle class and privileged ever again. So, what's next?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Unfulfilled Potential

So the weekend stretches out before me like a long vast expanse full of as yet unfulfilled potential. It looks like one of those splendid middle class London summer weekends. What shall I do?

1. Embark on my quest to discover London's most expensive sandwich?

2. Buy a barbecue and barbecue some Halloumi cheese to have with couscous and salsa made out of cherry tomatoes and shallots?

3. Visit my great-aunt's paintings at the Tate?

4. Attempt to become the new Michael Ventris by resurrecting the Lost Language of the Picts through a mixture of luck, dedication and brilliant intellect?

5. Get the fuck out of London via my tried-and-tested method of turning up at a random train station and getting on a random train to somewhere I haven't been before?

6. Do some work?

7. Waste the entire weekend sitting inside with the blinds down posting rubbish on the comedy forum and chatting to people on IM?

Cast your votes now! And quickly!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cave Cavem

I've been told in no uncertain terms by A Higher Authority that I am to lose the sixth form-style posturing (including, but I rather fear not limited to, Star Wars quotes and Nick Cave lyrics) immediately and start writing like the functioning adult that I would love to be.

So of course you'll be wanting to hear all about the new water-cooler that arrived at work today ("Great! Now we can have office gossip!"), and the fascinating articles about procurement compliance that I've been writing, not to mention the fact that the cats are overdue for their jabs and I've a gigantic builder's bill (no, as you were, he was 7'6 and 35 stone) to pay, for which the source of the funds is - shall we say - not immediately evident to me.

Boy, you are all in for such a treat in the coming weeks. Bookmark me now to avoid disappointment!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Feldspar Is Just Around The Corner

Things that made me laugh today:

1. A crow running. Who'd have thought that the harbinger of doom would have such a silly gait?

2. "Papa Won't Leave You, Henry" by Nick Cave. Comedy, over-the-top lyrics enunciated in a comedy, over-the-top manner, and a comedy, over-the-top tune. Fantastic.

3. The title of this post.

That's it.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Intermission: So Much Comedy, So Little Time

Ohh, I´ve seen things you people wouldn´t believe, but there´s no time to go on about it now. I have a 10am rendezvous with a deserted palm fringed island beach where piña colada flows freely from a wellspring among the dunes and everyone is permanently young, tanned and beautiful.

Look at me, all joyful for a change. And I didn´t even swim in the Pozo de la Felicidad ("The Pits of Happiness"). However I may well have contracted cerebral malaria from my jungle adventure. (Note: when travelling to malaria-infested regions of the world, it´s often a good idea to take malaria pills. Oh.) And if I haven´t, I´m going to learn Arabic. Let joy be unconfined! Now, where´s my coffee?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Terror Firma

I was going to post a long, boring entry about the Angel Falls, but this should tell you all you need to know, really:

You came all this way in that thing? You're braver than I thought.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In A Colonial Hotel

It seemed from the tourist blurb that I had done Ciudad Bolivar a huge injustice in comparing it unfavourably with Kabul and Swindon. Indeed, the blurb seemed to intimate that the place was in fact Venezuela's answer to New Orleans, with marvellous old colonial buildings fronting a wide and mighty river, among which the beautiful, sexed-up inhabitants would be found drinking and dancing and partying till all hours of the morning.

So I persuaded Mr P that our time might be spent more fruitfully than just lounging around in the hotel room doing the things that couples do when they have time to kill in hotel rooms in unfamiliar cities (smoking and watching The Matrix, since you ask) and went for a walk down to the Paseo Orinoco in search of picaresque adventure and excitement.

Big mistake. A wide and mighty river there is. Colonial waterfront buildings there are. Stray dogs there are aplenty. But of the beautiful, sexed-up inhabitants drinking and dancing etc etc there was no evidence whatsoever. Not a bar, not a restaurant in sight. Poor.

However, we were much entertained by a sign declaiming "Ciudad Bolivar Es Historia" (Ciudad Bolivar Is History). It's always nice to be informed when the end is nigh.