52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Friday, December 30, 2005

if you could see it then you'd understand...

Right. Here are the Earworms of the Year (2005) as voted for by you.

This list has been lovingly and exhaustively compiled by me through a combination of your email votes and from the lists provided by the 30 Earworm Guest Editors who have appeared on this blog over the last few months....

It's probably not a very surprising list, truth be told.... but thank you very much for voting and thanks again to all of the Guest Editors. If I can get enough interest from potential contributors, I will be keeping the "Earworms of the Week" feature alive into 2006.

Happy New Year all!

(by the way, I've included a few of your comments about each one... I love the way that you sometimes seem so ambivalent about the whole thing. That's the beauty of an earworm!)


20. Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

"It makes me want to dance around my house with the stereo up"
"This my friend is the good s**t"

This is the one song I have heard on the radio this year that really made me sit up and pay attention (well, I was in the shower at the time, but it definitely made me pay attention). It's just absurdly catchy. The album is out in January, and we're all expecting great things. The best number one single this year by a mile.

19. Tony Christie - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo?

"If you say you haven't had this song in your head this year, you're lying"

Anyone at all familiar with "Phoenix Nights" knew about the earworm potential of this song. As soon as it was released as a single in aid of Comic Relief, we were all doomed. They could play this in a graveyard and everyone would get up and sing along.

All together now! "Sha-la-la la-la-la (oi!) Sha-la-la la-la-la (oi!) Sha-la-la la-la-la... and Marie who waits for me"

Please make it stop now.

18. Stereophonics - Dakota

"... and then I found out it was by the bloody Stereophonics."

I didn't think they had it in them, to be honest. A great song - it's almost as a shame that it had to be by them. Apparently the rest of the album is the same old pub rock shite, but this song is widescreen genius.

17. Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure

"It's that vocal hook - 'what happens when you lose everything? / You just start again, START ALL OVER AGAIN'...."

An arty, new wave band with geordie accents and a singer with an appalling brush-over. Brilliant. I was tipped off about Maximo Park before I went to Glastonbury, only to opt to watch Athlete instead... something I have been regretting more or less since the moment I got home and discovered this song.

16. The Eagles - Hotel California

"This is my all time stranded on a desert island song if I could only hear one song, song. It's melancholy, it's sexy, it's lonely"

Quite how this creeps onto the list we'll never really know, but that's the beauty of Earworms, eh? It's a classic innit? And now I've started thinking about it, it's crept into my bloody head too. Grrr.

15. Simon & Garfunkel - America

"It's a romantic song, but there's more than a smidgen of 2000s US/British paranoia about it too"

Another slightly odd entry in our list, but worth it just for the lyric about the bow tie.

14. U2 - Vertigo

"I'm stumped by this one. I don't love the song, and I haven't heard it play in a long time. But there it was"
"Get exposed to it enough and you find out you have it whether you want it or not, like nasty STDs or a cold"

To be honest, I still haven't quite forgiven them for playing this song twice during their recent Stadium tour. Nor can I forget that absurd $40 membership / ticketing scheme. You think that they'd be rich enough to actually be able to afford to send me the silver key-ring and membership card that they owe me, eh? It's a good song though, and it was the first song I ever downloaded from iTunes too.

13. Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

"I grew up with this one and it's got the catchiest tune with a classic hook - you know when the cue's coming up and you're ready to get up and belt into the microphone along with Annie Lennox... seriously dodgy lyrics though."

Well - it *is* catchy.

12. Hard Fi - Hard To Beat

"It's ridiculously catchy, the beat begs you to move, and you can't help but sing along"
"A euphoric, rolling, uplifting, song that manages to sound rocking and a bit housey all at the same time"
"For pure energy and that feel good factor, this song is ...er... hard to beat..."

Undoubtedly one of the bands of 2005, and this was their breakthrough hit. Interestingly a number of Americans voted for this one -- does this herald another British earworm invasion?

11. Snoop Dogg ft Pharrell Williams - Drop It Like It's Hot

"purely for the cheesy entertainment value really"

How funny was Snoop at Live 8?

It's probably just as well Mary Whitehouse is dead... I can't quite see her seeing the funny side of the gangly rapper asking the assembled gazillions "What's my motherfuc*ing name?"

That Pharrell knows his way around a tune though, doesn't he?

10. Kanye West - Gold Digger

"When will I stop singing this one? Maybe when I realise I'm just a 24 year old white boy from Kent!"

Nobody does an "Uh!" quite like Kanye.

9. Coldplay - Fix You

"I liken this song to cats. I'm allergic to them, avoid them and never pet them - but they always single me out in a room full of cat-lovers."
"Gotta have that sad, slit your wrists song, and this is it"
"The music sounds in a state of exhausted, hopeful melancholia"

Not my favourite song on "X&Y" by some distance, but it looks like the one that will be their signature track for a while. I'm in the video for this, you know....

8. Kelly Clarkson - Since You've Been Gone

"I really do love Kelly... I have surely listened to this a million times"
"It may be a guilty pleasure, but it's a damn fine pop song"

The best thing to come out of any of those American Idol / X-Factor type reality TV shows? Mind you, that's not really saying all that much is it? What's the competition? Chico?

7. Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl

"Insanely, insanely catchy"
"...there's every reason to believe that Gwen Stefani *does* defecate bananas"
"Curse you, Gwen Stefani, and your ear wormy music that wriggles its way into my brain until I grudgingly have to admit that I kind of sort of maybe dig it a little all the while protesting how annoying and white bread it is."
"I don't like it, but it gets stuck in my head"
"That I have spent a nanosecond humming this song makes me want to curl up in shame and die"

Apparently she's pregnant. Does this mean there's a chance she might disappear for a while? Annoyingly this is on my iPod as C. bought it and ripped it for her iPod. Everytime I listen in 'shuffle' mode it's like I'm playing russian roulette with this as the bullet. Mind you - she's also put Ricky Martin on too. This or "La Vida Loca"? Oooh. Decisions, decisions....

6. Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To?

"Being at least three different song ideas Gaffa taped together with a cheeky nod and a wink, it knowingly points at Society's patronage of pop music to get a whiff of credibility. Eh, Kate?"

Yes it's knowing, but it's also brilliant.

5. Gorillaz - Feelgood Inc.

"The earworm with the most nonsensical lyrics. Mostly the sound of laughter rings in my ears"
"This song makes me dance alone in my bedroom"
"I can't decide if this is genius, or silly cartoon nonsense"

Gorillaz probably polled the most votes for an individual band in this poll, but they were split across two songs. This one is my favourite, although I have to agree with bytheseashore when he says of Damon Albarn: "I'm a massive Blur fan and can think of few artists who could go on to front a second successful band but, y'know, he comes across as a bit of a self-absorbed tit as a person doesn't he? A bit like the indie Robbie Williams"

4. Crazy Frog - Axel F

You bastards.

3. Gorillaz - DARE

"An utterly, utterly catchy tune"
"this track returned Shaun Ryder to the top of the English charts, so it gets my vote"
"I'm not sure I'd like this so much without Shaun Ryder's slurring contribution"
"I think anyone who's heard this song has had it stuck in their head at one point or another"

Shaun Ryder! Who would have thought it possible? And yes - the title does apparently come from Ryder's inability to corrrectly pronounce the word "there".

2. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot

"I think the Kaiser Chiefs might have sold their souls to the devil for this one"

I can't help but think that the Kaisers won't be able to pull the same trick off twice when it comes to their next album. Their winning combination of Madness and Britpop is at its absolute peak here, but I can't see them coming up with anything remotely as good as this ever again. I'll be happy to be proved wrong, but they just feel like one trick ponies to me.

Great record though. I tell thee.

1. Coldplay - Speed of Sound


You lovely people. You've made me very happy.

[full details of the scoring system can be provided upon request... but you'd have to be very bored to care that much!]

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

we're heading to Venus, and still we stand tall....

OK - this is the last call for your votes for Earworms of the Year please.

I'm going to work out what the hell to do with them all at some point in the next couple of days, and will post a chart of some sort on Friday.

One last time, here's what I need you to do:
  • think of the 5 songs / tunes / ringtones / adverts / whatever that have been hanging around in your head the most over the last 12 months. They don't have to have been released this year, but they do need to have been buzzing around across your synapses (although to be fair, that's harder to check, so I'll probably have to take your word for it)
  • put them into an order 1-5, and give me a couple of sentences about each one
  • email them to me at the address in my profile above
I'm going to do a round-up of this year's earworms on Friday - based both on your votes and on the choices of all of this year's Guest Editors.

There might be some prizes.

Alles klar?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I'm running towards nothing....

It was one of those classically English days today. It was sunny, but not too sunny. It was cold, but not really cold. It snowed, but it was only a sort of light dusting of damp snow and it didn't really settle.... it was quite nice.

We nipped out to take the dog for a walk in the forest near my mum and dad's. Once we had escaped the crowds having their once-yearly consititutional in the kilometer or so around the main car park, we largely had the place to ourselves. I think the dog enjoyed stretching her legs - I know I did.

After an unpromising beginning, Boxing Day actually turned out to be alright. We drove down to my Mum and Dad's house and spent a little time with them and with my elder brother and his lovely wife. Everyone was feeling better, and we exchanged a few presents, drank a little wine and generally sat around in front of an open fire.

To be perfectly honest, I was mainly glad of an opportunity to finally get my head stuck into a book and to try and zone out most of what was happening around me. I feel like I haven't had any time to myself over the last few days, and I certainly haven't had any time with C. It's perhaps not very sociable to disappear into a book, but it did give me some much needed time in my own little world.

I'm working tomorrow, so we drove back up the motorway in the snow flurries to make sure we got home in time for a spot of tea (leftover goose - naturally) and maybe a glass or two of wine and a DVD before an early night.

I'm hoping the office will be pretty quiet and that I can plug my iPod in and get my head down for a relatively painless day without any interruptions.

How are you bearing up? Any casualties?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bang! That's another bomb on another town

.....and you can keep Boxing Day too.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

the most wonderful day of the year

Happy Christmas.

I'm going to blog my day. OK, so I've pretty much stolen this idea wholesale from foxy.... but the way my day started, it seemed the only sensible thing to do.

Sitting comfortably? Good, then I shall begin:


Awake to the sound of throwing up. It turns out that three of the five occupants of the house are suffering from eating some possibly dodgy pork rillette at dinner last night. The noise proves impossible to sleep through, so I get up, make a cup of tea and read some appalling doggerel about how wonderful Bob Dylan is in the latest edition of Word Magazine. Clearly the man had some talent at some point, but it increasingly looks as though all that remains is the ability to pull the wool over the eyes of middle-aged journalists who should know better. Why do I buy this mag again? Make a mental note not to bother next month.


The house is finally silent, but I'm fully awake now. Lord B. is up now and seems to be okay. Make another cup of tea and contemplate going for a run.


Run the face recognition software that Mark & Foxy have been talking about. It turns out that I am:

69% Robin Gibb
67% Paul Allen
65% Dennis Quaid
62% Rupert Murdoch
62% Mira Sorvino
61% Tom Cruise

although apparently also:

55% Elton John, some Schwarzenegger, some Nelson Mandela and er... Danny De Vito?

Er. If you say so. (C. comes out as Julia Roberts, Shania Twain, Juliette Binoche, Mia Farrow, Penelope Cruz, Audrey Hepburn and Jane Fonda. I reckon she'll settle for that.)


Back from run.

It's nice and crisp outside at the moment, so my run along the river Trent was quite pleasant. According to my heart-rate monitor, that was 36 minutes during which I burned 543 calories. Well that covers off...what... a couple of chocolates?

The house is still very quiet - Lord B has nipped home to feed his cats - and it's basically only C's dad and me who are up and about.

This is a bit weird.


I've bought you lot a Christmas present:

On your behalf, I have donated a donkey.

According to Oxfam:

"A donkey can carry large loads over long distances, which really takes the burden off fetching and carrying supplies to and from market. Or harness this hardy fellow up to pumping equipment and it can make irrigating crops easier, plus there’s the bonus of free fertiliser."

So. There you go. Somewhere in the world is a donkey called SwissToni, donated in your name. Happy Christmas.


I've just had a Stoke breakfast: eggs, bacon, cheese, tomato and brown sauce all wrapped up in a big pancake like oatcake thing. Very tasty. I can feel my arteries hardening as I write.

For some reason I'm listening to Radio One. This has to stop.


After speaking to my dad, I've just mixed up some "Jungle Juice" for our patients: a couple of litres of water, a drop of lemon cordial and a dash of salt. It's important to take in a lot of fluid, and apparently the salt will make it more easily accepted by the body and will provide vital electrolytes. I say apparently, as I gave some to C. and she more or less immediately made a dash for the toilet.

Ah well.

I've turned the radio off at least, and now I'm listening to "Music To Watch Girls By". If I hear Slade again today, I may have to kill someone.


Ah. It's that great British tradition now: the Queen's Speech. A time when the whole nation, bloated on turkey, sprouts and pudding, gathers around their televisions and watch the monarch deliver a goodwill message. It is also a time when I continue the great SwissToni tradition of not giving a monkey's about what the silly old bag has got to say.

Mind you, when she's finished, the BBC are showing Shrek and then Toy Story II. Top quality entertainment for young and old, I think you'll agree. In the absence of anything else much happening around here, I think I might crack open some booze and settle in. The goose isn't in the oven yet and we haven't even thought about opening any presents.

Hey ho.


The Jungle Juice appears to be working its magic, and we now have both patients in the kitchen arguing over the preparation of dinner. Ah. Some kind of normality at last! (and I've had my first drink too - a Leffe Blond during Shrek. Hurray!)

I shall now have another drink and watch the fantastic Toy Story 2 until I am summoned to prepare vegetables, which I will do with pleasure and good grace.... well, as much as I can muster anyway.


What's this? We might be getting our presents out soon? Let's hope it's before Doctor Who, eh?

This hasn't exactly been the day of my dreams so far, but actually it's not been so bad. It's been quiet, for one thing, and there hasn't been too much strife and hassle (and of course, I'm in my own house with some of my family and one of my best friends. Things could be very much worse).

I need more booze.


Ah. Nice bottle of Sancerre. That's better.


I'm finding Doctor Who a little hammy, I'm afraid.... but at least I got to open a few presents before it started. 18:30 before a single present is opened. That must be some kind of a record. Most of my stuff seems to be edible so far, but frankly that's no bad thing.


....Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our first argument of the day.

Yes. The size of the parsnip batons has caused first annoyance, then disagreement, and finally a storming out of the kitchen. We have a winner.


We're finally eating. Well 3 of the 5 of us are anyway. The foie gras and Tokaji have just gone down nicely, and now we're carving the goose.

I'm not sure if I've got the appetite now. In the nicest way possible, pretty much all I want to do now is to disappear somewhere to be by myself and read a book.

We haven't yet finished opening the presents, and one person has already gone to bed.


The goose looks good though.


So that's more or less it.

C. followed her mum up to bed straight after we had finished preparing the vegetables, leaving her dad, Lord B and me. We chatted about football for a bit, ate the goose and had a drop of nice wine (listening to first The Magic Numbers, then Dusty in Memphis and then some Scott Walker).

It was nice. Really tasty food.... it's just that dinner was obviously a bit flat.

So now we've had a spot of pud, cleared up, and Lord B and I are sat watching some of 'Jerry McGuire' and having a cup of tea. Half of the presents are still to be opened, and will remain like that until tomorrow. So what? It's just another day, right?


Ah. Just listen to me whining. I should look on the bright side: I've enjoyed my day a whole lot more than those members of the household who have been ill.

God. Do I really want to end my day watching Tom Cruise though? really?


Well. That's it then. I think it's fair to say that it hasn't exactly been the day that I was expecting. It's not so much that it's been an anti-climax - surely every kid learns soon enough that after all that build-up, the day itself is pretty much certain to be a let down. It's just that I was hoping for something else. I was hoping for some nice quality time with the people that I love. This was supposed to be my first Christmas together with C. and it just didn't happen.

I don't want to moan too much though, as it could certainly have been worse, and I know I should be counting my blessings.... but.....


I think I'm going to watch the end of the film and go to bed. Tomorrow (ill people permitting), we're all supposed to be off to see my Mum and Dad.


Happy Blooming Christmas to you too!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sh-shake it, shake it, feel good

"Not a single day goes by when I don't walk around with some tune or other lodged in my head - an earworm that will work its way around my subconscious all day, sometimes bursting out at odd moments..."

So began this blog's love affair with Earworms.

I started tracking my own Earworms back in March this year. To start with it was just a fairly simple list of the songs that had been whirring around my head that week, posted every Friday. Towards the end of April, this feature shifted slightly with the introduction of the first Guest Editor. Since then I have had the pleasure of hosting the thoughts of some thirty of my fellow bloggers and got an insight into what has been troubling their synapses. In all that time, I have only posted up a list of my own earworms once - just before Glastonbury. I thought that it was high time that this situation changed.

I'm going to be doing some sort of a round-up of the Earworm year this time next week (and I still need you to email me your votes please, see here for details)... but in the meantime, here are the sounds that have been worrying my brain this week:

10. El Vez - Feliz Navidad

This is taken from the album "It's A Cool Cool Christmas", a charity compilation of indie/alternative type festive songs put out by Jeepster in 2000, and featuring artists like Belle & Sebastian, Saint Etienne, Teenage Fanclub, The Flaming Lips... and this little corker by a Mexican Elvis impersonator. He wants to wish us, he wants to wish us, he wants to wish us a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his heart.

9. Coldplay - Gravity

This is the same song taken to number 7 in the UK singles charts by Embrace. It was written by Chris Martin, who was apparently never entirely happy with it, and so gave it to Embrace to revive their career. I thought I liked the Embrace version, and then I heard this version of Coldplay doing it live... it's all subtle piano and soft vocals, and it made me realise at a stroke that the Embrace version is plodding in comparison. Proof positive, as if any were needed, of why Coldplay are the greater band. I think it's the b-side to their current single, 'Talk', actually...

8. Adam Lay Y Bounden [traditional]

I used to be in the choir when I was at school, and this was always my favourite. It's about Original Sin, apparently.... I just liked the tune.

7. Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down

I have a feeling that "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" is going to be making my top 5 of the year. It's an absurdly catchy and exciting record. This one is the follow-up, and it's more of the same really. They play it all coy by starting a bit slowly, but soon the guitars kick in and we're back on familiar territory. Cos he's a scumbag don't you know? Most anticipated album of 2006? So far....

6. Adeste Fideles [traditional]

Another one from the school carol service. This is 'O Come All Ye Faithful' in Latin. I'm a heathen, but I did used to love the ritual of the carol service, with the light travelling from the west end of the church to the east and and the reverent singing. Of course, not believing in God rather spoils things, but I do like a nice sing-song. Venite Adoremus. Venite Adoremus. Venite Adoremus, Dominum.

5. Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas

Another one from the "It's A Cool Cool Christmas" album. This is a surprisingly cheerful one from the Eels. Included here purely for the bit where E shouts out "Baby Jesus - born to rock!"

4. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Boom Shake The Room

....last song on the radio syndrome, but actually it's not been so bad having this one whirring around my head. Mic in a stanglehold, sweat pourin' / And like Jordan yo I'm scorin'. Nice.

3. God Gave Rock And Roll To You - Kiss

I hardly need a reason to have this in my head, but if I did.... it's the talky bit at the end that does it for me everytime:

I know life sometimes can get tough, and I know life sometimes can be a drag...But people, we have been given a gift, we have been given a road...And that road’s name is... rock and roll!

Amen to that.... and BIG FINISH!

2. Johnny Cash - Hurt

Because he means it.

[this one's dedicated to Hyde, by the way...and to Cheeky]

1. Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc

Right from that manic laugh at the start you know you are deep in Earworm territory - and that's before that stomping beat even starts up. Genius. Probably the band of the year and they're not even real.


Right - I have to run to meet up with Lord B to get out to a proper old school punk gig at the Old Angel in town... and I'm late.

Get voting!

(feel good!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

fa-la-la-la la la la la la

It's been a little quiet in the neighbourhood, so I think it's time we had a seasonal wander down our street to see what everyone's up to. I'll try and resist the temptation to give you all a blast of "Good King Wenceslas" or some other festive atrocity, but if you want to give me a mincepie and a glass of brandy as I pass you by, then that would be most welcome on this cold evening.....

-> We start our ramble with Ka over at The Grey City Manifesto.... It appears that the ever fragrant one is contemplating a move across the street to Mexico. This has been the big dilemma of the last few months, but it looks as though the results of the Canadian jury are now in.... we've all been on tenterhooks for this one.... And the answer? "So the decision is not to decide. Yet." Ooooh you tease!

-> Someone who knows all about moves is Charlie from Late Night Radio. It's been a couple of months now since our hero chased his dream away from friends and family and down to the big city. It's a big life change, so you'd think that Charlie has been contemplating life, loneliness and the meaning of the universe, and in a way he has.... "Snapple fact #123: Beavers were once the size of bears. Holy shit!". Mind you, any office that has Seinfeld Season 4 in their Secret Santa has got to be worth something, right?

-> Another denizen who has been on the move recently is Mark from Fear & Loafing In England. Now nicely settled in, he has been showing his in-laws around London. Dude - your father-in-law needs a bigger jacket.... You can't argue with snakes on planes though.

-> Over at The Big Blog, Adem has the look of the cat that got the cream about him... and with good reason too. Eighteen years old, apparently....

-> Life has been good over at Le Flash's place recently: "Right now I feel like I am living a charmed life. Everything is just going so very swimmingly. I can't help but feel that something catastrophic must be round the corner because, right now, I am having far more pleasure than I deserve." Not true mate, not true. In my view, it couldn't happen to a nicer fella.... and in case you are thinking of breaking into Flash's place on the street whilst our man is away, he's entrusted the keys to Spins and she's acting as caretaker... to be honest I think it could do with a bit of a dust... You're a champion Spin - keep smiling.

-> If you're looking for somewhere to ransack, it looks as though Red is away too, and I'm not sure there's a caretaker. Best be careful though, the place is probably under surveillance, bugged up to high heaven, and is likely to have already been turned over by some government stooge already, so you won't find much.

-> When he's not busy dating 22 year old doctors (more fool her, by the way), Bargs has been keeping himself busy and the rest of us entertained with a question and answer session. We've already learnt that he owns three Steps albums, would have quite liked it if England had won the World Cup in 1990 and likes the Pet Shop Boys. This much we could have worked out. He's still open for more questions, so off you go and ask him something difficult, for heaven's sake (although, for the record, I'm not sure that England winning the World Cup in 2006 is something you can make a New Year's Resolution about....)

-> beautiful, warm, generous-spirited Aravis has been spending every waking hour playing Myst IV... well, except the time she spends wondering what kind of person puts the term "man perp" into a search engine. Why do they end up on your blog again?

-> Leah has been waxing lyrical about some chap called Brett Favre .. but, y'know, it's not proper football is it?

-> Meanwhile, Jenni smells of candy cane.

-> At the manor house at the end of the road, Foxy is busy getting ready for a non-commercial, non-denominational festive period... a place where, if I'm reading this correctly, Turkey is bad?

-> mmmmm. Marzipan.

-> Michael has nominated all-round good egg Kevin Federline as his person of the year 2005: "He made the pop princess into in the kitchen, barefoot, and pregnant." Good enough reason for me.

-> cheeky Alecya has revealed herself to the world as a hottie, but has just as quickly got bashful and if you missed it, you're too late now....

and finally...

-> Yoko has been taking rides from nude cabbies - probably best if you don't ask. Nude bookcrossers though? Hmmm. Depends on the bookcrosser, eh Yoko?

Ah. I love my neighbours.

Have a good Christmas y'all.


(and email me your damn earworms... got it?)

Monday, December 19, 2005

never did no harm, never did no harm...

Some pictures from the 8th Juxom Street Christmas Party:

The Statue John Diet is sure to be huge in 2006....

Our hosts contemplate their gifts....

...but Mik shows them how

The Ultimate Olympian's training for 2006 was well underway...

see you in 2006!

Another sterling effort boys.


Before heading down to Oxford on Friday night, I went to see my neurologist for the lastest installment in the saga of the Weirdy Tingles (which starts here, carries on here, here, here, here... oh heavens... there's loads of it. You get the idea....although be sure to check out my brain)

There's basically been no change: I still have a weakness across my left shoulder and pins & needles down my left hand as well as a more general numbness across the rest of my body and down to the soles of my feet. The MRI scan revealed that this was caused by a myelitis on my cervical spinal cord. The last time I saw the neurologist, we had decided that we would "wait and see". This visit was the follow-up.

Well. It's still a myelitis and these are my options:

1) Have a spinal tap. This would most likely only serve to confirm the diagnosis and little more, so there's not much point in putting myself through it.

2) Blast the swelling with steroids and try to make it disappear. I'm not keen on this because of the side-effects of the steroids, but apparently the actual inflammation itself is likely to have gone by now, and my symptoms are being caused by the nerve damage.

3) Take pills to alleviate the symptoms i.e. the weakness, the tingling and the pins and needles. Again, some nasy side-effects, and to be honest, although I find my symptoms frustrating, and to some extent limiting, it's not exactly crippled me... so....

4) Wait and see.

So... we now wait until the spring. There are probably two different outcomes we are looking out for here:

a) it goes away, and we all shrug our shoulders and hope it never comes back


b) I get new symptoms, in which case it's the first sign of something else.

So here's hoping for the first of those two options....


Ok. I still need your votes for Earworm of the Year.
  • choose the 5 tunes that have been buzzing around your head the most over the course of the last 12 months
  • Put them in order 1-5
  • Write a couple of words about each one
  • Send them to me at the email address in my profile
  • I'll score them up and do a chart.
I'm going to post the results a week on Friday, so you've got a few days, but don't leave it too late!


Phew. That was a bit of a long one. As you were....

Friday, December 16, 2005

I tried my hardest just to forget everything

Hello. I'm in a bit of a rush this week, so I'll be brief.

This week's guest editor is the dandy highwayman himself, so let's just get on with it shall we?

Ladies and Gentleworms... without further ado, it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure.....

Dennis Moore.

(only kidding)

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #30 - Adamant from What's Wrong With....

I’ve read many people qualify their earworm selections to ST and I fully intend to caveat my own on the basis that a) I live in Texas, for goodness sake and b) I have a 13 year old daughter who monopolises most of the radios and TVs in the house/car.

1 – Kelly Clarkson – Because of You.

Apart from the fact I hear it at least three times a day, the line “I will not break – the way you did, you fell so hard” takes me right back to my wife’s daring adventures in unaided flight. The thing is, pop-pickers, right now in good ole Taxarse, the industrious KC has 4 different choones on the daily playlists, so I must be grateful only one of them is an earworm, I guess.

2 – Kanye West & Jamie Foxx – Gold Digger

“I aint saying she’s a Gold digger, but she aint messing with a financially challenged African-American Gentleman”


3 – Haysi Fantayzee – John Wayne is Big Leggy

For close on three years now, since I moved to Texas, this little blast from the past rears it head every time I see a John Wayne wannabe – usually carrying a gun on his hip and wearing a cowboy hat.

4 – Disneyland Paris – It’s a Small World…

This damn tune has been stuck in my head since 1991 when I was on a test run for the ride and it broke down, stranding us for 45 minutes with nothing to do but sing along.

All together now…”It’s a small world after all…”

5 – Nickelback – Photograph

A mere month after I managed to dig ‘Someday’ out of my lobe and Mr Kroeger wiggles right back in!

6 – Pretty Vegas – J.D. Fortune (INXS new lead singer)

Forgive me if you knew already, but INXS picked JD as their new lead singer in their televised search – “Rockstar INXS”

As part of a challenge, JD wrote “Pretty Vegas” rather quickly, in protest of the pop-pap the others were penning as a group. I must admit, while I thought he was being a bit of a Diva at the time, the song blew the others away.

7 – Keith Urban – You’ll think of me

“Take your cat and leave my sweater”. Every broken relationship I ever had ended with a line like that.

Why do girls always bring a cat, anyway?

8 – The Killers – Mr Brightside

For some reason, rather than “Coz I’m Mr Brightside” my earworm goes “Coz I’m Norman Whiteside”.

9 - Del Amitri – Spit in the Rain

Sorting through a box of old photos I came across a long since forgotten Love.

She smiled a lot but was a little bit…vacant. Hence the relevance of the lyric “You can grin but you can’t hide all the emptiness inside”

10 – Gwen Stefani – Luxurious

The Wayne’s World reference - “Cha-Ching” – goes alongside B.A.N.A.N.A.S. as pure lyrical genius.

Oh yes, she will be mine.

Thanks ST -



Thanks mr. ant. Nickelback? Nice.

Next week's Guest Editor is going to be...er... me. So not much of a guest, but it's been a while since I had a go at this, and it is Christmas after all.


Oh, and get voting on the Earworms of the year please. Email me.

[previous guest editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore]

Thursday, December 15, 2005

how can the light that burned so brightly suddenly burn so pale?

I had a great time at an office Christmas party last night. You know the drill: good company, a few beers, a lovely meal, some wine, some more beer, meet up with C. and then off to the Walkabout for more beer and some kind of golf arcade game thing. It must have been a good night though, as I had to sit and think really hard this morning how I got home (did C. drive? Did we get a cab?). It was great.

But….Oh… did I pay for it today. I had one of those sneaky hangovers that creeps up on you around mid-morning and gets progressively worse through the day. It wasn’t your typical, pounding-head type hangover either. Oh no. This was one of those ones where you feel a bit wobbly and nauseous. I tried all of the usual tricks to shake it off: lucozade, nurofen extra, a greasy pasty, a mango and passion fruit smoothie, paracetemol, fizzy water, still water…. The only thing that really made any difference was when I caved in about 4pm and bought myself a bottle of Dr. Pepper. That seemed to do the trick, and I am now definitely getting a second wind.

The funny thing is, I reckon that none of this would have happened if I had been able to get another couple of hours of sleep in the morning, as I think that it’s hit me so hard partially because of a lack of sleep. Ah well. Clever girl that she is, C. had taken the day off. Muggins here had to get up and drag himself into the office, where all I wanted to do was to go back to bed. Naturally, I worked a 10-hour day.

I like drinking, but I really hate getting drunk. For some reason, I also hate people seeing me drunk. I reckon it’s down to school, where it was an essential survival skill to be able to get drunk and yet to appear totally sober in front of your housemaster. Actually, many of my oldest friends will tell you that they have never seen me drunk, when in fact all of them have. Partly this is down to what I will call the “bear and the running shoes” theorem:

Two hikers stumble across a bear in the woods. As it makes as if to start running towards them, one of the hikers sits down and starts to take off his walking shoes and to lace on a pair of running shoes. The other hiker is so amazed that although he has already started to run away, he pauses for a second.
“Those running shoes won’t help you to run faster than a bear”
“I don’t need to run faster than a bear. I only need to run faster than you”

They’ve seen me drunk, it’s just that usually they are drunker than me (although at this point, Statue John will probably regale you with the tale about the bottle of Jack Daniels in France after our A-levels. There is photographic evidence, I’m afraid to say).

Maybe I’m a control freak.

Whatever. The prospect of a Leo Sayer at the 8th Annual Oxford Christmas Party this Saturday is currently looking like it might be hard work….


Top 5 Earworms of the Year please..... to the email address in my profile.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From the brim to the dregs

At some point before the end of the year, I am planning to do some kind of “That Was The Earworm That Was” list for 2005… a countdown on the year’s top earworms, as voted for by the readers of this blog.

If you haven’t been on the eggnog, then I’m sure the sharpest amongst you will have realised that this means that I will be needing to cast your votes....

It should be pretty simple really - all you have to do is to email me (via the address on my profile) a numbered list of the 5 songs that have been stuck in your head the most over the last 12 months. As always with these lists, although you may well end up with a list of your 5 favourite songs, it doesn’t have to be a record that was released in 2005, and it doesn’t actually have to be a record at all… it can be a ringtone, an advert from the telly, something the guy who sits next to you at work keeps humming… anything really. It just needs to have been lodged in your head at some point this year.

Send your lists to me via email, together with a your thoughts on each one, and I’ll compile them all up and produce some sort of chart countdown before the end of the year with a selection of your comments about each one. There will be a proper scoring system and everything. Your number 1 will score 5 points, your number 2 will score 4 points, and so on down to your number 5 scoring 1 point…. So the placement in your list could make all the difference.

Got it? Good....

If you need some inspiration, you could do worse than look here.

Ladies and Gentleworms… I hereby declare the polling station open for your votes !

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

and I won't look down

Embrace @ Nottingham Rock City, 13th December 2005

First things first: this was a very generous Christmas gift to me from Lord B, who went out of his way to get hold of a pair of tickets for this long sold-out gig. Many, many thank yous. There is very little that I enjoy more than getting out of the house to get to a concert.

Right. Now that's out of the way...Embrace.

Embrace are a funny band. They had a few hits back in the latter part of the 1990s, and for a little while looked like they might really make it big. They never quite did though, and by the time the twenty-first century came around, they were pretty much finished. Then Chris Martin gave them a song - "Gravity" - which reached number 7 in the UK singles chart, and suddenly they were back, and their 2004 album "Out Of Nothing" actually topped the UK album chart. I like "Out Of Nothing", and even before I heard it was a Coldplay song, I thought that "Gravity" was the best thing that they had ever recorded by a substantial distance.

So now this.... a warm up gig before the band kick off their arena tour on Thursday. The crowd was certainly up for it, but I was a little apprehensive. In anticipation of the gig, I had listened to "Fireworks", the singles collection, and although they have some good songs ("All You Good Good People", "Come Back To What You Know", "My Weakness Is None Of Your Business", "Save Me", "Hooligan"...) it's abundantly clear that Danny MacNamara couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. He's famously rubbish live too.

I'm afraid my review is going to be pretty basic: the band came on, they played their stuff.... and they were alright. Danny does tend to honk like a sealion, but on lots of their songs, it doesn't really matter. They played a whole pile of new stuff too, which sounded in places really frighteningly like "X&Y" era Coldplay (singing apart)... but seemed otherwise okay. I thought they paced their set badly, with lots of their best known songs right at the beginning, a long lull with some of the newer songs, and then sort of picking back up a bit by the end. To be fair though, they did play "I Believe In Father Christmas" by Greg Lake, which was a bit of a bonus.

The problem for me with Embrace is that they are basically striving all of the time to be anthemic. Sometimes they succeed ("All You Good Good People"), but most of the time they fall short. That's no disgrace, but they don't really seem to have anything much to fall back upon. They're not a band with a great intellectual depth and profound lyrics, and so I often found my attention wandering during a song, and I end up focusing on Danny and marvelling that he really can't sing.

Maybe I'm being too harsh.

The other thing about them (and I'm going to sound like a snob here) is that their audience tends to err on the side of the chav... many of them look like Oasis fans, and whilst it is mildly amusing watching them try to carry out the Liam Gallagher swagger without spilling their drink, it is less so when they are pouring their lager over you or trying to turn "Gravity" into some chimp-like "Don't Look Back In Anger" singalong.

Just say no kids.


(but they weren't *all* that bad, and it is always nice to get out to a gig on a schoolnight. Thanks Lordy B!)

Monday, December 12, 2005

chesnuts roasting on an open fire

I'm not feeling very Christmassy yet.

The presents have been bought, the local organic goose has been ordered, the unfiltered port and the Elijah Craig bourbon have been purchased... most of the material things have been sorted. I'm just not really in the mood yet.

I started stepping out with C. in 1999, but this will be the first time that we will spend Christmas together. C. usually heads off back to France to be with her parents and her brother, and I head down to my mum and dad. This year her brother is going to be in Australia, so C. decided to make the break and spend Christmas with me. Great. She also managed to accidentally invite her mum and dad to spend Christmas with me too.... Actually, that's fine too. I get on well with her parents, and they will head over from France with a car filled with delicious food and wine from the cellar, so far be it from me to complain. Lord B. will also be joining us, which will fantastic not only because he's good company, but also because it gives me someone to nip off to the pub with...

I'm still not exactly brimming with Christmas spirit though.

C. is getting very excited, and is busy making crackers, planning when we are going to get the tree, ordering a wreath for the door and a centre-piece for the table... that kind of thing. It's lovely to watch, but at the moment I'm just looking forward to a couple of extra days off work (I'll be working all but the bank holidays).

Maybe things will change this weekend when I head down to Oxford for the 8th Annual party hosted by Statue John and his housemate the Pollstar.... I think I'm the only guest to have attended every other party, and it is my honour and my duty to help our two (vegetarian) hosts with the turkey that they gamely produce for the 20-30 guests they manage to squeeze in every year.... no mean feat when you consider that we start drinking at noon, and that the "quiet night in" on the Friday always turns into a total shambles.


Before I head down to Oxford on Friday, I've got the small matter of a visit to the neurologist out of the way. Maybe I need to get past that before I can really focus on enjoying the best of the season.


What about you lot though? How are you doing? Swamped by the whole thing? Loving it? Dreading it?

Complete the following in 10 words or less:

"Christmas, for me, means....."

I'll ask again on Boxing Day, and we'll compare notes....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

I nearly left a note on someone's car the other night. I actually wrote one out, carefully wrapped it up in clingfilm so that it wouldn't get wet and walked out of the house to pop it under the front windscreen wiper. At the last minute I managed to stop myself though.

Perhaps I should explain: parking is at something of a premium around us, and this clown had parked his car right in the middle of a two car space. It wasn't his first offence either - he drives a bloody great VW Scirocco, so he's pretty easy to spot, and is showing definite signs of making a habit of this.

Annoying, but is it enough to tip me into becoming the kind of person who leaves notes?

Not yet.

Friday, December 09, 2005

laughter fills the air and everyone is singing...

Hello, hello. Apologies for being a little late, but I've had a busy evening. Firstly I walked into town to have a quick beer with Lord B and this man before they went off to watch A-Ha, and then I had to dash home to host a dinner party with some old friends (foie gras and cassoulet, since you ask - I was listening to "Meat is Murder" as I ran through the final preparations too... I'm not sure Morrissey would have been too impressed).

Anyway. Enough about my renewed obsession with The Smiths (compilation CD coming your way soon, Cheeky...).

It's time to bow down before the God of Earworms... Amongst other crosses he bears, this week's guest editor is a fan of Nottingham Forest. Be gentle with him.

Yup. Ladies & Gentleworms, without further ado, it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure.....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #29 - bytheseashore

Thanks very much to SwissToni for the invitation to share my earworms, and to the other guest editors for a good read every week. I nearly didn't make it this week thanks to an accident with a kitten, a bottle of beer and my laptop, so apologies for making this week's earworm late. Anyway, welcome to my week which features a suprising lack of The Smiths:

(Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon
Despite being a big Beatles fan, most weeks they wouldn't feature in my top ten earworms. This week, however, loads of their songs have rattled around my head but the one that sticks in relation to John is 'Just Like Starting Over' which is usually an earworm this time of year. It's nowhere near his best but suggests that he was close to becoming to comfortable with who and where he was which I suppose is a better place than any to stop.

Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft - The Wedding Present
Also inspired by a 60s icon, being from the album 'George Best.' The intake of breath at the start of this song is one of my favourite starts to an album and the ringing guitars and Gedge's dour delivery still sounds fresh. If you think it sounds pedestrian be rest assured it wasn't the same live when the crowd reacted to it violently. In a good way.

DARE - Gorillaz
An utterly, utterly catchy tune. I've played it very loudly on the way into work every day this week which has helped to get me started in the morning although that should probably have happened before I got in the car. I still have a difficult relationship with Damon Albarn; I'm a massive Blur fan and can think of few artists who could go on to front a second successful band but, you know, he comes across as a self-absorbed tit as a person doesn't he? A bit like the indie Robbie Williams.

The Fallen - Franz Ferdinand
This is my favourite track off their new album. Other than the fact that it's a cracking tune it's stuck in my head because of 'Well who gives a damn about the profits of Tesco?' and 'Woo Hoo.' Any song with a 'woo hoo' or variant thereof cannot possibly fail to be great.

Generate It Again - The Datsuns / The Beach Boys
This is a bit of a cheat because it doesn't exist outside of my head. I'm not sure that if you mashed The Datsuns 'Harmonic Generator' and The Beach Boys 'Do It Again' that anything coherent would emerge, but it does for me.

Ray Of Gob - Go Home Productions
The new Madonna album is the first of hers I've bought. At first I thought that borrowing an Abba song was awful but I warmed to it in the end. I prefer 'Ray Of Gob' though - 'Ray Of Light' over The Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' and 'Holidays In The Sun.'

All That Jazz (from the musical 'Chicago')
A few months ago I went to New York. It was my first trip outside Europe and I loved the place. I really like musicals so saw 'Chicago' on Broadway. Actually I slept through a good part of it thanks to the jetlag. 'All That Jazz' brings back vivid memories of the holiday. I really, really want to go back. It's the first foreign city that I've thought I'd like to live in.

Shuffle Your Feet - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
I've been entranced by BRMC since their first album, possibly because live they used to remind me of The Jesus And Mary Chain. A bit. As soon as I heard this I realised they'd taken the 'difficult third album' cliché and thrown it out the window. I couldn't have imagined that they'd produce their most powerful album by going acoustic. I've hardly stopped listening to it since it came out. And it's got a harmonica on it, which is nearly as good as a 'Woo Hoo.'

Taking My Business Elsewhere - Richard Thompson
I've been through the emotional wringer this year, having come out of a nine-year relationship and faced redundancy. As a result I've tried to avoid sad songs; Bob Mould's 'The Next Time That You Leave' once laid me low for the best part of a week. Thompson, though, has written some powerful bittersweet songs that take me in but don't seem to bring me down. Fortunately I've never waited in a bar until closing time before admitting that I've been stood up so this hasn't upset me at all.

All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
Does it feel like it's nearly Christmas to you yet? Most people seem to have their own triggers; dark nights, snow, lights, food, family, whatever. For me, and I can't begin to explain why, the festive season will absolutely not start until the first time I hear this song. I'm not remotely a fan of anything else by the warbling, hamster-cheeked fruitcake but there's something about 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' that completely puts me in the mood. It's been this way for years and for some reason has no effect if I play the song myself; I need to hear it spontaneously. I'd like to think I could join a support group but in this case I think I could be in a minority of one.


Hold on a second, I need to check something..... yes.... I can confirm that we have our first Christmas earworm. Sadly, it's Mariah Carey and not Slade, but you can't have everything.... I'm also very sorry to hear about the incident with the laptop, but kittens are very cute, aren't they? Aw. Poor little thing! Another excellent list though, so thank you for that.

Next week, all the way from Just South of Stupid, we have AdamAnt from What's Wrong With....

[previous guest editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya]

Thursday, December 08, 2005

war is over if you want it...

John Lennon, 1940-1980

25 years ago today, John Winston Oko Lennon was gunned down outside the Dakota building in New York by Mark Chapman.

I haven't really found myself thinking about his music today though.

Since his death, and partly because of the variable quality of Paul McCartney's output, it has become more or less de rigeur to suggest that Lennon was the real genius in The Beatles. Whilst it may be true that Lennon helped to suppress some of Macca's more saccharine instincts, I think that view is essentially revisionist rubbish. It's not as though Lennon's solo work was untouchably brilliant, is it? Personally, I've never really taken to it. Some I like, some I dislike, and lots I am indifferent too. Even the charms of 'Imagine' have palled through over-exposure.

Instead of pointlessly wondering about the music that he might have made had he lived, I keep thinking about Lennon the peace campaigner. I wonder what he would have made of George W. Bush and his "War on Terror", of Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq.

Not much, I should think.

I don't know if he would have been able to make a difference, but I think it's safe to say that he wouldn't have been sitting on his arse watching it all happen.

Too many of us are still sitting on ours.

Instant karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Ev’ryone you meet
Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you’re ev’rywhere
Come and get your share


Big up to Red from Run Over By The Truth for reminding me about this anniversary, by the way ....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

send me your pillow, the one that you dream on

One of the greatest albums ever recorded* is now 20 years old. Although contractual disputes with Rough Trade delayed the actual release date of ‘The Queen Is Dead’ until June 1986, the recording sessions themselves began in December 1985.

It’s an album whose reputation has grown over the years: in its infinite wisdom, the NME only rated it as the 9th best album of 1986 (behind ‘Raisin’ Hell’ by Run DMC, ‘Bend Sinister’ by The Fall, ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon, ‘Word Up’ by Cameo, ‘EVOL’ by Sonic Youth, ‘Control’ by Janet Jackson, ‘Rapture’ by Anita Baker and ‘Parade’ by Prince!). Now it’s an album that is more or less a fixture at the top end of those “Album of the Decade” type polls.

It’s a wonderful album… from the music hall opening, pounding drums and shimmering guitar of the title track, all the way through to the last notes of “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”. It has depth and variety, comedy and pathos, wit and wisdom…. it also contains probably my favourite song of all time: “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”.

With all of this in mind, I found myself wondering this morning if its reputation will survive being named by the new leader of the Conservative Party as his favourite record of all time? What would Morrissey (the author of a little ditty entitled “Margaret on the Guillotine”) make of that?

First The Urban Fox is quoted in the Daily Telegraph, and now this. What’s going on?


* I imagine there may be some debate about this. For what it’s worth, I don’t even think it’s the best album by The Smiths.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I got no distance left to run

If NaNoWriMo has taught me anything, it has taught me that I need to find a way to get more writing done. I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of writing, and I think it's something that I'm relatively good at (although you are probably better placed to make an objective judgement about that than I am). One of the reasons that I blog is that I find it provides me with a creative outlet that my job does not. NaNoWriMo was more of the same, with the crucial difference that instead of posting whatever sprang to mind in bite-sized chunks, it forced me to sit down and write the longest single piece of sustained writing I have ever done. At times it was a bit of a slog, but completing it has given me a real sense of achievement.

What I have also realised over the few days since I smashed through the 50,000 word barrier is that I need to do something about my job. Throughout November I was punching the clock, doing my hours and saving my mental energies for my novel. Now that I have come out the other side, it is all too clear to me that I am wasting myself in my current job, and that either they need to pay me a lot more money than they currently do to put up with it, or I need to look for something else. But what? I'm sure I can find another job doing basically the same thing, but I'm not sure that's what I want. I'd like to do something a bit more stimulating; more creative. In an ideal world I'd like to do something with my writing - even if that was unpaid and alongside my existing job. I just need to give myself something more fulfilling to do before I wake up one day and realise that I've wasted my life in a dead-end job in a souless corporation.

Now don't get me wrong: I know that I'm not J.D.Salinger. I am pleased with my NaNo novel, but mainly I'm pleased that I did it, not because I am convinced it is fabulous. I am under absolutely no illusions about the greatness of my output....

....But I think that if I work at it, I can improve.

But where the hell do I go from here? I don't know what to do. I really don't.

Monday, December 05, 2005

when the feelin’s right I’m gonna run all night

Bloody Mondays.

There were a couple of accidents on one of the main arterial routes out of Nottingham this evening, and it brought all of the rush hour traffic to a grinding halt for a couple of hours. I was trapped at work when I found this out, but had no appetite at all for sitting in a traffic jam and even less desire to stay at my desk after another deeply uninspiring day at the office.

The solution? I had been planning a trip to the gym after work, so I nipped out to the car, picked up my gym kit, dropped off my coat and my work bag, got changed and ran the 4 miles home in the cold, dark pissing rain.

Let me tell you - it felt bloody brilliant.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'm looking for answers from the great beyond...

Thanks for playing kids..... here are the answers:

Sample 1

Mystic NumNum said "This person has a good level of confidence, requires personal space a lot, and is fairly caring of those around. The convex baselines indicate a good starter, but a rather poor finisher in most cases. The short upper loops indicate a material person who does not partake in religious type thought. The short sharp hooks indicate a irritable and cranky persona. The lack of a g/y/f/j may have tilted this analysis off track though."

The handwriting belongs to...... Bee from Life in the B

Lyrics from "Brand New Colony" by The Postal Service

The NumNum actually knows Bee, so he was very aware that this one was a little misleading. Nice handwriting though, I thought.

Sample 2

Mystic NumNum said "This person is a clear thinker who is reserved and caring. This person is a tad hypersensitve, so I shall tread gently. Focused in the here and now, but with a strong fantasy drive and a very childlike demeanour in most cases. (This person is also one who dislikes unlined paper, which makes my job bloomin hard!)"

The handwriting belongs to...... Di from Suburban Hen House

Lyrics from "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants

Apparently using lined paper makes the analysis a little bit harder, as the spacing between the lines can be most revealing. I think Mystic NumNum must have been near the mark though - most people seemed to work this one out... I will of course be earworming this song for the rest of the week.

Sample 3

Mystic NumNum said "This peson is a logical thinker, who is keen to keep distance (slightly reserved). This person is unfortunately a tad insecure, and tries to balance that by involving in social activity. The clash of behaviours leads to insecurity. A strong focus in the past, and a non-egocentric view of life. However, the slighly falling baseline indicates a level of fatigue with life, which needs rectifying to balance the usually strong focus."

The handwriting belongs to...... Michael from Yummy Brain Gravy

Lyrics from "River of Deceit" by Mad Season

Good lyrics, I thought. For some reason this looked like it was written by an American, and indeed it was.... not many people picked it right though.

Sample 4

Mystic NumNum said: "Optimism, and a bit of a penchant to dwell on the past. Another good starter but not really geared to finishing with much aplomb. Strong level of self confidence, this person is slightly emotional and spontaneous with a bit of a quick-judgement. Sometimes prone to inferiority bouts, the optimism helps keep the driver going. Sometimes childish with a bit of a dreamy quality."

The handwriting belongs to......SwissToni from SwissToni's Place

Lyrics from "Exit Music (For a Film)" by Radiohead

Apparently I'm quite hard to pick. Don't let the use of a fountain pen distract you from the fact that I don't join up my handwriting! C. liked the analysis here too...

Sample 5

Mystic NumNum said: "An entire song when a lyric would have sufficed, matches the overreaction quality of the narrow spacing. Unfortunately I cant see it in good detail, but it looks like a bit of an inconsistent personality - at one stage calm and another very nervous and insecure. Very here and now, material driven, so no dreams of utopia or unrealistic futures, but a bit of an optimisitic streak."

The handwriting belongs to......Le Flash from The World of Flash

Lyrics from "Waterloo Sunset" by The Kinks

Good song Flash, but why did you copy out the whole damn thing? I'd say you have an optimistic steak. Would you?

Sample 6

Mystic NumNum said "A balanced mind, thinking a fair bit about the future. Keen to continue learing from mistakes, this person is sometimes a bit too impulsive. However, mostly a very clear thinker with a high capacity to care for others. Very determined too. But again, could do with a bit more freedom and some plain-paper!"

The handwriting belongs to......Jenni from Wonder(ing) Goddess

Lyrics from "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen / John Cale / Jeff Buckley / kd lang...

I think Mystic NumNum's got you banged to rights here, Jen. I nearly used a line from this song myself actually....

Sample 7

Mystic NumNum said: "An orderly person who is conventional and requires privacy. Has a strong ability to care for others. Fairly confident and proud, though more leaning towards a religious view of life, and extremely hypersensitve. A strong penchant for all things olde, a childlike behaviour and a fantasy driven mind. A very bad starter but manages to finish in the end."

The handwriting belongs to......B1rdie Num Num from The Num Num

Lyrics from "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits

Mystic NumNum assures me that he did this analysis totally dispassionately... anywhere near the mark mate? Nice turquoise ink too.

Sample 8

Mystic NumNum said: "Heavens, this is all over the place. An inconsistent personality, flitting between impulsive behaviour and a bit of a guilt complex afterwards. A strong fantasy type mind, that is dirving to optimism. A not so good finisher, but adaptable, caring and conventional most of the times. As an aside, if its a man, he sure has very feminine handwriting! The kind of guy who would have a tie pin and button hole, or the kind of woman who has a trinket or two on her person, but not really driven to catwalk-style (?)"

The handwriting belongs to......Foxy from The Urban Fox

Lyrics from "Venus In Furs" by The Velvet Underground (was that a cryptic identity hint, Foxy?)

Firstly, great choice of song. Secondly, this analysis made me laugh out loud and then check that Mystic NumNum hadn't worked out it was you. He hadn't, so it's just perfect.

Sample 9

Mystic NumNum said: "Looks to the future this one, but has a bit of a hangup in learning much from the past. Strong self confident, lives in the here and now. Oddly enough shows signs of a need to fit in! Sometimes childish, but a dislike of y/g/j in their lyrics, leaves me little to work with in 5 mins."

The handwriting belongs to......Rufus-Fan

Lyrics from "Tonight We Fly" by The Divine Comedy

Well, she managed to avoid picking something by Rufus, but the Divine Comedy would have been my next guess.... probably quite hard to pick as she hasn't told us where her blog is yet. hint hint!

Sample 10

Mystic NumNum said: "Secretive. Sometimes hypersensitive, this person has a lot of guilt driven behaviour. Optimism keeps them going, they are a bad starter but manage to finish in the end. An objective outlook of life, they do need some time alone to themselves. An odd sense of confidence, though the ego is sometimes taking over."

The handwriting belongs to......Statue John from Stand By Your Statue

Lyric from "Genius" by the Kings of Leon

I've known this handwriting for many years... and this is a spookily good analysis by Mystic NumNum here. Did it give you the shivers SJ?

Sample 11

Mystic NumNum said: "Very neat! An artistic view of life, prone to walk off the beaten track somewhat. Very controlled behaviour, with a lack of confidence in most situations. A caring outlook, with a motherly view of life, though very focused in the here and now with little time to dream and fantasise. What is striking, is that amongst this, is a bit of inconsistency, so prone to moods."

The handwriting belongs to......Lord Bargain from The Bargain Basement

Lyrics from "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers

Lord B. thinks he has very girlie handwriting. As lots of you thought that this one might be me, I tend to disagree. Pretty good analysis here too. Prone to moods? a caring outlook? lack of confidence? bing! bing! bing!

Sample 12

Mystic NumNum said: "No time to waste here! Alas inconsistent behaviour shows that this person flits a bit now and then. Keeps their distance, then jumps right in and takes centre stage. No lack of confidence here, though it is sometimes masked as uncertainty. Driven by a need to satisfy material and physical aspects of life, this person is always on the go!"

The handwriting belongs to......Spinsterwitch from Life As I Know It

Lyrics from "Spun" by Flypside

Spin chooses "Spun". I see what you did there! The slight blurring of the picture also reminded me of those blurry ('without lenses') pictures of you that you had on your blog a little while ago....

Sample 13

Mystic NumNum said: "Seems like a clear thinking person, but there are aspects of extreme chaos here. Not sure where they lie, but could be on the personal rather than work side. A spontaneous person, who seems to lack confidence. Living in the here and now, they are able to learn from the past and use that well. Optimistic behaviour, but sometimes lacks pragmatism."

The handwriting belongs to......Adem from The Big Blog

Lyric from "Closer" by the Nine Inch Nails

"Aspects of extreme chaos", eh? Do tell....

Sample 14

Mystic NumNum said: "Hmmm. Lack of performance confidence, but a stong physical and material driven person. Respects authority, but lacks confidence. Clear thinking, caring and holding a bit of hidden aggression. Conventional, but a need to be slightly different. Doesn't experiment, but should do, and if it doesnt go well, should try again and not give up!"

The handwriting belongs to......John from The Ultimate Olympian

Lyric from "Subterranean Homesick Alien" by Radiohead

This was my favourite lyric, and very aptly picked, I thought (and again, a number of people thought this might be me). The analysis seemed pretty good too. Not sure about a couple of points though... conventional? material? hmmm.

Sample 15

Mystic NumNum said: "This person is tired, fatigued. They dream of something, but something is distracting them, and they dont have the energy to progress. There is confidence there, but no ego. Largely living in the here and now, they can think clearly but have a hard time finishing things. A streak of individualism, but conformist too! I suggest a holiday!"

The handwriting belongs to......Mark from Fear & Loafing in England

Lyric from "Miracle Drug" by U2

He picked U2! Did you want a signpost? (spot on analysis though!)

Sample 16

Mystic NumNum said: "This essay was a bit hard to read. This person is very realistic. Very driven, and a bit on the physical/sensual side! There is a strong ego there, and a bit of a fantasy mind. But a lot of inconsistency, which means there may be some confused people around this person. A bit tired, they do finish what they start, sometimes!"

The handwriting belongs to......The Eye In The Sky

Lyrics from "The Song of the Sea Goat" by Peter Sinfield

This was a tricky one as The Eye is blogless... but I did warn you to look out for some prog!

Sample 17

Mystic NumNum said: "Sometimes forward thinking, sometimes not! Very inconsistent in that aspect. Strong healthy liking for the past, but a very healthy confidence. Optimistic, caring, but somewhat conventional. It looks like two people to be honest - or a split personality! One is more grounded than the other, but both have healthy fantasies!"

The handwriting belongs to......Aravis from Exploring Aravis

Lyric from "Life Uncommon" by Jewel

I thought this was a great choice of lyric by Aravis.... very 'Aravis'. Not sure about the analysis though... although definitely optimistic and caring. Was Mystic NumNum near the mark?

Sample 18

Mystic NumNum said: "Last but not least - A very bold statement. Determined, though a bit tired. Childish behaviour somtimes, but largely optimistic. Good levels of confidence here, very much here and now though. Conventional, clear thinking and caring. Very good margins too! Person is good with budgets!"

The handwriting belongs to......Chig from World of Chig

Lyric from "Woman in Love" by Barbra Streisand

I like the little framing around the lyric here. Nice detail. I thought that this one was pretty easy, but apparently a pile of you thought that this one was me. Ok. If you like. But do go and have a look at Chig's blog for details....

The leaderboard?

Yoko ---> 1
Statue John ---> 1 (but some good red herring plantation!)
Aravis ---> 1
Fox ---> 2 (sorry 'bout that... you also sportingly didn't guess yourself)
Jenni ---> 2
Ka ---> 5
Alecya ---> 6
Spin ---> 7
Mark ---> 7
Bee ---> 8
Michael ---> 9

But our winner, with the very respectable score of 11 / 18 is ....

.....Lord Bargain.

As you'll probably have noticed, he had two gos, so I've half a mind to take his first score (7), but I'm feeling generous, so he is hereby declared the winner, and should come forth to claim his prize of naming a post on this blog (in the house style), and a SwissToni compilation CD - made by my own fair hand.

Let's hear it for Lord B.


Phewie. That was a bit of an epic journey. Thanks again to all of you for entering and/or guessing, and extra special big thanks to the NumNum for doing such a marvellous job with the analysis. Honestly - go back and have another look it. Didn't he do well?

Next time.... something else..... I've got this great idea........