Thursday, June 26, 2008


Can anyone tell me how George Michael is in any way relevant to this story?

'A baby, who was brought back from the dead after she was accidentally knocked into a river by her mother, has lost her battle for life.

The mother and the three-year-old were unharmed after their ordeal, which happened around half a mile downstream from a house owned by George Michael, the popstar.'

Could it be anything to do with search engine optimisation, I wonder? Bad Torygraph!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Avenger


PATROCLUS and MR BC are looking for a saw. After some dithering:

ME: They all seem pretty similar to me.

MR BC: I'm going to get this one.


MR BC: I've changed my mind. I'm going to get this one instead.

ME: You only want that one because it's called 'Predator'.

MR BC: Well, that's a good name for a saw.

ME: Blokes are so easy to market to. Just give something a ludicrously macho name, and you're away. There's probably a spirit level called 'Mutilator' in the next aisle.

MR BC: I don't know why more companies don't do that. If there was a toothpaste called 'The Avenger', blokes would never buy any other brand.

ME: 'The Dental Avenger'.

MR BC: No, just 'The Avenger'.

ME: What about 'Avenge'?

MR BC: 'The Avenger' is better.

ME: Righto.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back In The House!

Hello blogchums, I am back after another BT-enforced exile in the Land of No Broadband. Hopefully the last one ever, though, as now we've seen the amount of stuff we own, we're planning never to move house ever again.

It seems that during my absence I was tagged twice (twice!) for the same meme, first by Oli and then by Clair.

Luckily this meme is a) easy and b) fun, as all I have to do is list seven songs that I'm into right now. But because I'm so lovely, I'm not going to just list them, I'm going to give them to you as a splendid free podcast! Well, I mean, it isn't a podcast really, it's just seven songs squished into one audio file, what the lovely Mr BC kindly made for me with his super Garageband software.

So anyway, here we go, seven songs I am into at the moment, with vacuous commentary:

Yeasayer - Sunrise
I don't know anything about Yeasayer at all, other than that the Very Short List thinks they're quite cool right now, which means that all the *real* New York hipsters probably liked them about a year ago, and they're now quite passé, but not so passé that you'll have read about them being the 'next big thing' in the Sunday Times. (I think that's generally the way it goes.) This track is enormous and uplifting, as are almost all the other tracks on this non-podcast. I'm in a kind of 'enormous and uplifting' mood now, musically. Possibly because I *am* currently enormous, and need lifting up whenever I ill-advisedly sit on the ground, to fix carpet trims and the like.

Gnarls Barkley - Run
Usually a pop song is popular because it has a catchy melody or some other catchy hook that makes you really love it at first but then after you hear it another three times you realise that's all there is to it and you feel empty and cheated and a bit sick, like when you eat a Big Mac. (I think Theodor Adorno had something sniffy to say on the matter, but it backfired on him somewhat, as everyone accused him of being a big Wagner-loving snob and apparently no one likes a big Wagner-loving snob.) Anyway, Gnarls Barkley are not like that. Somehow they manage to make amazingly detailed and fantastic songs that sound like they're the best song ever written and that they've been around for about forty years, even though they were only written last week. This is one such. Worship Gnarls Barkley, for they are very special.

The Shortwave Set - No Social (Optimo Espacio Mix)
I like the Shortwave Set, because they're what a British indie band should be like - male/female vocals, lots of weird instruments, they take a gramophone on stage with them, etc. - and then I read that Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley fame) had produced their latest single, so I went looking for it, and then I discovered this great remix of it and thought 'that's even better!', so here it is.

Nirvana vs Supermen Lovers - Come As The Starlight (Overdub Bootleg)
I love mashups, and I love Nirvana, and I love French electro, and this has all those things! (With thanks to Rafael, from whose hopefully-not-actually-moribund blog I unceremoniously whipped it.)

Martina Topley-Bird - Valentine
I thought I'd better have something slightly more subdued at some point, so here's Martina Topley-Bird, ex-cohort of Tricky. She has a lovely voice, and this is a lovely song, and I think that is all that needs to be said.

TV On The Radio - Dirty Whirl
Whenever I get a new album, I like to circle it suspiciously for several months, before putting it away on my CD shelf for another couple of years or so, after which I will tentatively get it out and give it its first listen. So after originally purchasing it when it came out in 2005, I've finally got round to listening to TV On The Radio's 'Return to Cookie Mountain', whence this song comes. And now I've heard it, I can't get it out of my head. It's fantastically infectious and has lots of great lyrics about some femme fatale or other being a 'dirty little whirlwind'. I'd quite like to be thought of as a dirty little whirlwind, but it's unlikely, as I spend most of my time repotting geraniums and going to B&Q, rather than messing with rock stars' heads. Oh well.

Eminem vs Survivor - Without Me
It is Eminem's 'Without Me' mashed up with 'Eye of The Tiger'. There is nothing subtle about it at all. It is brilliant. Oh yes. You know it.

Here you go then:

Download Podcast (m4a, 27MB)

I now hereby tag Mr BC, Wyndham, Tim and Rivergirlie to list their seven songs of the moment - podcast optional.

IN OTHER NEWS: Thanks to Annie for bringing it to my attention that my Guardian Letters blog was plugged in the Guardian Guide yesterday. Woo! (Although frankly I'm still waiting for a proper answer to my BURNING QUESTIONS.)

AND ALSO: Congratulations to Sarah Peach and team for getting the long-awaited 'You're Not Alone' blog anthology book out on to the virtual shelves at, and congratulations to Occasional Poster of Comments for getting into it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quote Of The Week

From a BBC article about a new eco-town project:

'The government has said that of the 5,000 homes to be built, 2,000 would be affordable.'

Presumably the other 3,000 will be pebble-dashed with emeralds, thatched with peacock feathers and priced at 80 billion pounds each. No wonder the housebuilders are going out of business.

Friday, June 06, 2008

They Seek Him There...

Stop panicking everyone, the wandering Wyndham has been located! He's in the tearoom, over here, no doubt serving up cake and the finest wines known to humanity.


Criminal Justice

I've been commissioned to write a lengthy tract about some technology my client has developed that will apparently make the criminal justice system more efficient.

On a planning call with various 'stakeholders' in this project, the conversation wheels around to why I was selected to write this thing in the first place.

'So, Patroclus, do you have a background in criminal justice?' asks a stakeholder.

I pause briefly to consider my experience in the sector, which includes:

1. Being told off by a weary policeman for rolling in a municipal flowerbed in Forres, Moray, at 2am on the night before the 'Britain in Bloom' judges were due to arrive.

2. Having a disgruntled policeman pop up from behind a hedge to take my photograph as I participated in an episode of organised civil disobedience on Crown land as a protest against the criminalisation of peaceful mass trespass under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill (later Act).

3. Being forcibly manhandled off Crown land by a no-nonsense mounted policeman during the same episode.

4. Being tear-gassed by riot police in Park Lane, after a protest march against the aforementioned Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill (later Act) became somewhat lively, this liveliness including the burning of cars, trampling of flowerbeds and overturning of bus shelters in the aforementioned Park Lane, and the rattling of gates leading to Downing Street (the latter activity later immortalised in the opening credits of woeful 1999 Britflick Human Traffic, which is now notable only as an early celluloid outing for The Lovely John Simm (awww look at his little face, awww, etc.) and for having the Age of Love's 'Age of Love' on the soundtrack).

5. Receiving a phone message from the Devon and Cornwall police requesting that I go down to the station 'for a chat' following the publication of an article I had written for the student magazine about a conference at which representatives of the aforementioned police force had reassured local parents that 'there are no drugs in Devon and Cornwall'. (In proper Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style I had turned up to the conference stoned, but only in order to give a hilarious ironic counterpoint to my article. My professional dedication has never been anything less than impeccable.) I didn't go.

'Erm, not really,' I reply.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Unpalatable Truths

In retrospect, getting pregnant within three minutes of arriving in Cornwall was perhaps a little on the hasty side, as it's come to my attention that lumbering pregnant women are all but useless at renovating stinky old houses.

So for example, I can get on to the floor to unscrew floorboards, which is helpful, but then I can't get up again, which isn't.

I can cut up old carpet with a Stanley knife, but only for about ten minutes, after which I have to whinge extensively about how much my back hurts.

I can walk to the shop to buy milk, but only at 0.0007 miles per hour, meaning that by the time I return, the milk has gone off in the relentless summer sun (curse you, relentless summer sun!).

I can carry stuff from the car into the house, as long as the stuff is made of paper or cotton wool or balloons, and not from wood or metal or china or anything remotely useful.

I can pull up weeds in the garden, but only until I see worms, at which point I have to squeal 'ewww, worms!' and run away - oh wait, that one has nothing to do with being pregnant and everything to do with being a namby-pamby ex-city-dweller.

There's one skill that hasn't deserted me due to my enormous bulk, though. I'm still very good at nagging. Nagging - or the repetition of unpalatable truths, as I prefer to think of it - barely hurts my back at all. And what's more, because I'm female and can multi-task, I find that I'm quite capable of nagging expertly at the same time as standing around cradling a cup of tea and a Digestive biscuit. While Mr BC scales ladders, paints ceilings, shifts mammoth wardrobe pediments from room to room, and heaves great boxes of flatpack garden furniture hither and thither.

All of it wrongly, of course.