Monday, 29 June 2009

The Killers, Michael Jackson, and my long weekend

Well - Friday came around (as expected, right after Thursday) which meant I had the day off, and also that I went to see The Killers play Hard Rock Calling at Hyde Park.The day was bloody good, I can tell you. Got there around 3pm, with the first band (Chew Lips) on around 4pm. 2 Guys and a girl doing some pop-synthy type stuff, very good.
Several bands later, and The Killers came on at 9pm, and played for a little under 2 hours - and they were fuckin' A. We had a great spot near the stage, nestled between the man who looked like he'd been let out for the weekend, and the girl who'd drank her own bodyweight in Vodka Redbulls. My plan was to post some pics/vids, however, I can't find the lead that connects my phone to the PC, so I'll have to put them on some other time.

On a sadder note, the news of the weekend - Michael Jackson is dead. MJ did seems to divide public opinion, he had his die hard fans who pretty much thought her was Jesus without the beard, and then everyone else who thought he used to be great, but was now just a bit weird.

But whatever you thought of him; pop-god, child molester, misguided genius, or any combination of these, there's no doubting the great impact he made on the world of pop. It was hard to believe he was over 6 foot tall and had hands the same size of Mohamed Ali's when you saw him shaking his stuff on stage, and Thriller changed the way everyone thought about the music video. It's a shame he won't be playing the O2, I know a few people who had tickets to see him and I'm sure they'll be most upset.
That is of course assuming he is dead, and not somewhere alive and well and suddenly debt free in south America whilst one of his many doubles lies in a morgue...

And if you're going to to LA anytime soon, and plan to leave a tribute on his star on 'Hollywood's walk of fame', please be sure to get the right one. The one in all the papers, surrounded by candles, flowers, and crying MJ fans, is actually that of very much still alive LA talk radio host
Michael Jackson. The now deceased pop sensation Michael Jackson's star is currently underneath the red carpet outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre waiting for the cast of Bruno to walk all over it at the premier.

So farewell Michael - you of moonwalking feet, not-quite-proven allegations, and curiously Caucasian children (apparently, the daughter Paris is the result of a 'donation' from MacCaulay Culkin - hence the blonde hair). You were a bit weird, well, you were a bit mental in all honesty and quite possibly spent a bit too much dubious time with boys not of your own age, but nobody else could move quite like you, and you will be sorely missed by the world of pop.

His first moonwalk on stage (at least I think this was the first performance):

1500 Phillipino prisoners can't be wrong:

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Taxi drivers

Went on a trip last week (hence no posts), including my old stomping ground in the midlands. On the way back I got a taxi to the train station driven by an idiot.
For starters, despite being in somewhat of a rush to be on time for the train, the man seemed to have no concept of 4th gear, or indeed what the vertical peddle on the floor was for. Admittedly, he was getting on a bit, and was rather rotund, so I assume he's not that used to moving in any way shape or form, but if your job is to drive people around all day, it surely makes sense to move your fat ass and not drive below 20mph.

At the first junction we get to, he just stops. No cars coming in either direction, in fact no forms of motorised transport at all that I could see, but we stopped for about 30 seconds anyway. And when I thought this couldn't get any worse, he started talking.

You know you're in for a bad conversation when the first thing the person your speaking to says is 'did you see about that bloke in the News of the World?'
No I didn't - I read a newspaper, one with news in. If I wanted knee-jerk reactionism and unobjective ramblings, I'd speak to a Jeremy Clarkson.
Then he starts talking about paedophiles, and how he thinks they should all be in prison. well no shit Sherlock, you think? He goes on to tell me that if a paedophile ever attacked his grandchildren, he'd probably kill them - and he says this like he's really proud of it, like no one else has ever thought of this and it makes him special.
He then goes on about diplomatic immunity, and how 'foreigners' shouldn't be exempt from the law, by which time I've fallen into a coma.
Most taxi drivers I've had have been friendly, or at least quiet, but I just don't get these folks who think that because I have to sit in the same car, means I 'm really interested in their xenophobic sun-reader take on the world. Next time, I'm wearing ear plugs.

Anyways, on a lighter note, it's only 3 more days before I go see the Killers (and the Kooks) in Hyde Park - really can't wait.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Panda = stupid

What is it with Pandas? I remember as a child, being told all about them at school, how there weren't many left in the wild, about how they only ate bamboo, the captive breeding programs etc, and I couldn't help but think - as a species they're pretty dumb.
Don't get me wrong, I recycle, I turn off lights, I only buy line caught Tuna, and I don't eat Cod (the last 2 is because of the overfishing and general methods used), but I draw the line at Pandas.
I mean - they're hardly helping themselves are they? For a start, Pandas are bears, and like all bears, have evolved to be carnivores. However, Pandas don't eat meat, they have a diet that consists pretty much exclusively of bamboo, which is made up mostly of cellulose. which Pandas can't digest, hence the need for them to eat 30 pounds of the stuff every day. They reason they look a bit dopey and cute all the time is because they're knackered, very little nutrition = very little energy, so anything more than walking slowly is beyond them.

Secondly, they never want to have sex. Despite all that slutty eye make-up, Pandas would rather scratch their arse than have a romantic night in with Mrs Panda. Though I feel that this may be related to my previous point, zoos have tried pretty much everything to get them 'in the mood', including Viagra and Panda porn. I'm not sure how they managed to get hold of Panda porn, given the scarcity of Panda sex, but there you go.
Which all makes me wonder, that maybe without mans intervention, Pandas would be extinct. There are plenty of species that mans activities have brought to extinction, or the brink of it, but this is just the opposite - nature has created an animal that doesn't breed or move (unless you poke it with a stick) so surely we're just screwing with natural selection by getting them jacked up on Viagra and playing Barry White.
In my view, there are other species on the planet more worthy of saving - they just have the misfortune to not look as cute. And why are they called Giant Pandas? Where did all the normal sizes ones go? Probably eaten by the Giant ones - wouldn't surprise me...

Anyways, enough of upsetting people, here's a little ditty from a few years back - and quite possibly the only song by these guys I've ever heard (apparently the rest isn't worth listening to). I thnk they're using this on TV at the moment to advertise another TV show as well...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Steart Lee - The funniest man in the world... today anyway.

Went to see a comedy show on a boat yesterday. A bit freakin' weird it being on a boat and all. They did have a rather large bar, which I thought was selling very strong beer until I realised it was the boat randomly rocking and not just me.
Anyways - a good night with a good line up, including quite possibly the funniest man alive Stewart Lee.
And in his honour, here's a clip of him talking about books from his recent TV series :

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Acts of god

What is an act of god? I've been writing a bit lately (about someone who thinks he's god) and was thinking about this.
All insurance policies have it down - but what does it actually mean? Does it mean that if a plague of locust steal my car I'm not covered? If I had a house on the shore of the red sea a couple of thousand years ago and it got flooded out when that Moses guy parted it in the middle, thereby raising the sea level everywhere else - would I still be covered?
Or does it include all acts of god - in which case (if you're religiously inclined) just about everything is an act of god. If a tree falls on my house - god made the tree, the wind etc... therefore it's his fault. If someone sets fire to my house - god put him here on the planet - therefore is it an act of god in a roundabout way? Where do you draw the line?
And what about atheists. For them it's just a case of 'shit happens' - nothing's an act of god. Is that a valid argument on a claim form?
And no-one ever seems to say which god - there's thousands of religions around the world - they can't all be right.

Personally, I'm agnostic - so I'm siding with the 'shit happens' folks - but it's an interesting question nonetheless which had me pondering for a while this morning.

Anyways - enough of the philosophising - here's The Killers doing some accoustic magic. Going to see them later this month, so I'm currently listening to them pretty much non-stop.

Monday, 8 June 2009

A week is a long time...

We've had elections here in the last week (both local - for councilors and European - for MEPs). We've also seen a lot of in-fighting, plotting, hissy fits, and general murky goings on within the government. The big question in Britain being will Gordon Brown still be prime minister this time next week or will some MPs bump him off in the night.
The whole situation can be confusing, so I've put together a wholly biased and inaccurate handy guide to explain who's who, and a little of what's going on.

David Cameron - leader of the conservatives.
Seen by many as nothing but a vacuous toff, nonetheless, the conservative party are now out in the lead in the polls, and will most probably win the next general election (whenever that is). They have an interesting strategy, in that they don't actually have any policies, or indeed, any opinion on anything at all. They
just keep their mouths shut and wait for the the current government to
mess things up royally, so people will vote for them on the 'can't do any worse'
ticket. Despite some of them using taxpayers money to have their moats cleaned, this is proving to be the most popular thing they've ever done.

Nick Clegg- Vince Cables stunt man, and leader of the liberal democrats. This is the only picture of him known to exist. Ask pretty much anyone in the UK who the leader of the lib dems is, and they'll say Vince Cable (including Vince Cable).

Apparently he was raised by wolves.

And now for the lot currently in power:

Hazel Blears (photo actual size). Former communities secretary and MP for Lillyput. In a way, the one who kicked it all off with her spectacular resignation.
Basically, she dodged paying tax, misused taxpayers money and apologised - which is where she went wrong. Other ministers who did the same and didn't apologies got away with it.

She is actually only 7 inches tall and was created in 1981 by Jim Hensons workshop as a prototype for 'The Dark Crystal'. Her loss to the government is seen by most as 'a pretty good thing'.

Caroline Flint - Former housing minister and all round sex goddess. Another spectacular resignation, blaming Gordon for leading the party on a downward spiral, and for not noticing when she got her hair cut. She's said that Gordon used her for 'window dressing' and that she had no power as a minister, never got invited round for tea and biscuits, and was generally there just to look pretty and make it appear that there where women making decisions in government. To which Gordon quite rightly responded 'There there, now don't you worry your pretty little head about it'. With her and the dwarf gone, along with pretty much every other women in any position of power, Alistair Darling has been told he can only continue in his role as chancellor if he wears a dress.

Gordon 'Happy' Brown - Depending on when you're reading this, either Prime Minister, or former Prime minister. It's been something of a bad few weeks for Mr Brown. It all started off with his rather good impression of the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang on youtube, and he surprised everyone by going downhill from there. Pretty much everyone around him has resigned, and in the European elections on Thursday he managed to steer his party to it's worst election result since 1918. He's also blamed for the current financial crisis, and seen as a dithering idiot who is out of touch with the British people. Makes you feel bad just watching to be honest. In political terms, he's like an old incontinent sheep dog. He mopes around looking sad all day, and you can't help but think that someone should take him to the vets for a long sleep.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Some more stuff I wrote

As promised, here's a bit of - wait for it - actual writing!
Wrote this in bed last night, edited for 10 minutes this afternoon, and here you go. Consequently, it's a little thin on plot, however, I wrote this more as a 'mood setter' rather than a story. It's about travelling on the London underground (hence the title), however, I'd also like to point out that the views of the narrator are not mine - I actually quite enjoy it in a weird masochistic kinda way.
Hope you all likey, please feel free to leave comment whether you found it good, bad, or ordinary. As all writers should, I value anyones view whatever it is.

Also - for those of you not living in the UK, Gregg's is a chain of shops selling unhealthy pastry, and a pasty is generally meat and potatoes wrapped in lard filled pastry.

I'll try do 'propper' writing on here more often, in the mean time, you can find the last one I wrote by following this link.

On the tube

Stood next to the door with the box at my feet, I hold onto the rail to steady myself against the random rocking of the carriage, my knuckles white against the red paint that identifies my train as being on the central line.

And I try not to think about the thousands of hands who’ve held this rail before me and how well do they clean these trains anyway?

The pretty girl opposite me in the Blonde hair with the bright pink lips and a dress that looks expensive says ‘I just want our family to move forward as one unit’ to the man at her side who looks annoyed.
Oxford circus and the doors open to the fishbowl world. Prams and bags, old ladies in big coats, foreign students in rucksacks.
The doors close and we all shuffle half an inch – a token gesture to our travelling companions, a hint of solidarity. All jerk forwards, and on our way to Tottenham court road. Above us Oxford street; half a mile of too small shops selling hats wearing union jacks, love London T-shirts, teapots shaped like old red telephone boxes, key chains, fridge magnets, postcards, watches, anything they can put a flag and a funny slogan on whilst 120 watts of sub woofer play a thump thump thump that lasts until forever, spilling out onto the pavement with their dodgy merchandise, polluting the world with their words.

The station arrives and the doors open. A small child with ginger hair in the seat next to where I’m standing says to his mother ‘they’ve done arm transplants from dead people in China’.
Freaks and geeks mind the gap and we all move back half an inch. A fat man stands next to me, sausage fingers wrapped around a Gregg’s pasty. He’s sweating grease, his matted hair stuck down to his head as he chomps away at the carbs in his hand. I wonder for a moment what he’d look like if you sliced him open, if he’d look like a Gregg’s pasty all the way through, just pastry and fat, potatoes and not much meat, all grey. Moments like these are why they invented the ipod. Plug yourself into another world, where you can’t hear the screaming babies or the bad grammar, where the birds sing a pretty song. Loose your thoughts.

And I try not to think of grey hairs, getting fat, getting old, lung cancer and myocardial infarction.

But I don’t have an ipod, just the box at my feet.