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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

say my name, say my name

No "Blog of the week" today... my new iPod was waiting for me when I got home, so I kind of got all busy playing with that.

Normal service might be resumed again next week.

How about a quick competition though? My new iPod has no name. I think it needs a name.

The first song to come up on shuffle was "Jean Genie", and that might be fate.... unless you can think of anything better, that is.

Any suggestions?


Last call for the fridge game too.... guesses here please. Results tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2006

there's got to be a reason and we know the reason why

So I guess the results are in:


(known to self and others)

dependable, intelligent, introverted, knowledgeable, logical, self-conscious

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, adaptable, brave, calm, caring, cheerful, clever, complex, confident, dignified, energetic, extroverted, friendly, giving, helpful, independent, ingenious, kind, loving, mature, modest, observant, organised, quiet, reflective, relaxed, responsive, searching, shy, spontaneous, sympathetic, trustworthy, warm, wise, witty


(known only to self)


(known to nobody)

accepting, bold, happy, idealistic, nervous, patient, powerful, proud, religious, self-assertive, sensible, sentimental, silly, tense

Dominant Traits

52% of people agree that swisstoni is intelligent

All Percentages

able (4%) accepting (0%) adaptable (9%) bold (0%) brave (4%) calm (9%) caring (23%) cheerful (4%) clever (14%) complex (14%) confident (14%) dependable (14%) dignified (4%) energetic (19%) extroverted (14%) friendly (33%) giving (4%) happy (0%) helpful (9%) idealistic (0%) independent (4%) ingenious (9%) intelligent (52%) introverted (23%) kind (19%) knowledgeable (9%) logical (19%) loving (4%) mature (4%) modest (9%) nervous (0%) observant (23%) organised (14%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (0%) quiet (4%) reflective (28%) relaxed (4%) religious (0%) responsive (9%) searching (9%) self-assertive (0%) self-conscious (14%) sensible (0%) sentimental (0%) shy (4%) silly (0%) spontaneous (4%) sympathetic (4%) tense (0%) trustworthy (38%) warm (14%) wise (4%) witty (38%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 27.2.2006, using data from 21 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view swisstoni's full data.


I particularly enjoyed seeing who had scored me what, and trying to second-guess why they had done so..... I reckon Ben thinks I'm dependable because I'm pretty regular with my contribution for The Art of Noise A-Z, and Pynchon thinks I'm giving because of the CD I sent him the other day.... and so on.

So the top 5 were:


Of those, I only picked one as my own choice (although if I'd thought a bit harder about the words that I selected, then I think I would have picked "reflective" as well).

For a bunch of people who (mostly) haven't met me, I think you did pretty well.

Good game, good game.

Only 9% modest though? 4% brave? 0% patient? ARE YOU MAD?


I'm going to do the fridges on Wednesday, I think... so if you want to have a vote, then you'd better pull your finger out.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

one is all that you can score

I went to the theatre this evening to watch "All Quiet on the Western Front". It's an adaptation of the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (which was also made into a film in 1930). The play eloquently describes the futility and pointless, indiscriminate slaughter of war as seen through the eyes of a young German soldier in the trenches of World War One (Wikipedia has a pretty good article on this if you want to read more about it)

It's a message that we've all seen countless times before - war is stupid and people are stupid - but that familiarity doesn't render it any less powerful. Of course, it's a message that just keeps on being relevant.... sadly it is as pertinent today as it was when the book was published in 1929.

The staging itself was wonderfully simple: a cast of 10 and very little in the way of scenery getting between the actors and the audience. The rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire was a spanner being dragged across a metal walkway and shells exploded with the slamming of metal trapdoors. Very simple and very effective.

One of the themes of the play is how none of the German soldiers has even so much as met a Frenchman, never mind have a reason for wanting to kill one, and yet that is exactly what they find themselves doing on a daily basis.

I found myself reflecting on that thought when I found this on some US Marine Corps site:

"Fahrenheit 9/11 Review

Hello guys and girls. I had the unpleasant opportunity to view the new movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" by Michael Moore last night. I have never been so offended in my life, he makes us Marines feel like we are over here fighting watching our friends and other troops die for no cause. Vote for Bush.
Semper Fidelis,
Corporal Howard II, W.M" (on the left)


Dying for no cause? I can see why no soldier would want to face up to that, and I don't in any way want to trivialise the fact that people are fighting and dying in Iraq (and elsewhere), but that's what it looks like to me.

I'm also reminded of the words of Muhammad Ali when he refused to be drafted to fight the war in Vietnam:

"No Vietcong ever called me nigger".

Stop the war.

Actually no. Can't we just stop war full-stop?

Friday, February 24, 2006

when the law break in, how you gonna go?

I'm doing earworms this week again, I'm afraid....

I've recently rediscovered the joy of making compilations for other people. Over the last couple of weeks, I have made CDs for Aravis, Spin, Alecya and for Alecya's Beloved. I used to do this quite a lot with cassettes, but that became an increasingly pointless exercise as tape players began to disappear and we all started to listen to CDs in the car and to iPods pretty much everywhere else.

Ironically, I suppose it's the advent of the iPod that has led to me picking this up again. I now have a reasonably sized chunk of my record collection ripped onto my laptop and conveniently catergorised and searchable in iTunes. This makes it an absolute cinch to shortlist tracks and to fiddle with the running order until you are ready to burn it all onto disc. No more half-recorded tracks at the end of a side now you know (although, naturally, my obsessive nature meant that I would rather have a minute of silence at the end of each side rather than a track brutally cut off in its prime. I also became pretty inventive with short instrumental tracks....)

It's the sequencing that's the real trick though, isn't it? You can't just chuck a load of tracks you like onto a disc. Oh no. You have to get the balance right. You need a big opening, of course, but you also need to get the mix just so. There is no scientific formula for this though. It's an art and needs to be approached as such. I try and do it by feel: listening to the ends and beginnings of tracks, looking down my shortlist of songs, and moving them about until it feels right. It's very satisfying when you get it right.

Oh God. I'm sounding all Nick Hornby again.

Of course, the joy in sending out a compilation to someone is in their reaction when they receive it.... and so far they seem to have gone down pretty well (although to be honest, they're all such sweethearts, they would probably never say otherwise).

I've a couple more to do before I'm done, actually.... I'm shortlisting possible tracks for Lord B and for Ka as we speak.

Anyway. Earworms.

10. 'The Leaders of the Free World' - Elbow

For me, this is one of the standout tracks from the album of the same name. It's a fantastic combination of the personal and the political. I saw them in concert the other day, and they're knockout. They aren't an immediate band, but if you give them the time, their songs really work their way under your skin.

"But the leaders of the free world
Are just little boys throwing stones
And it's easy to ignore
Till they're knocking on the door of your homes"

Beautiful, but not in an obvious way.

9. 'Tragedy' - The Bee Gees

Another one inspired by a recent gig.... although quite how Nine Black Alps led me to be earworming a 70s disco classic is something the band should be asking themselves as a matter of some urgency. Sadly it's the Bee Gees version of the song that is in my head, and not the definitive version by Steps....

8. 'Let Me Kiss You' - Morrissey

A classic cut from "You Ate The Curry", which I was listening to in the office this afternoon.

Morrissey's new album is out quite soon, and the early reviews are very good. I hope he'll forgive me but I won't be getting too excited until I hear the evidence with my own ears....this is partly because I own "Maladjusted" and partly because I am aware of how often journalists seem over-compensate for a mediocre review of a good album by piling up the superlatives for an inferior follow-up ("The Great Escape" and "Be Here Now" are just two that spring to mind, although I imagine the Kaiser Chiefs will get this too) . The single sounds a bit 'Morrissey by numbers' to me too (after a single listen, admittedly) .

Incidentally, Nancy Sinatra - Morrissey's LA neighbour - did a great cover of this song.

7. 'Neighbourhood 2 (Laika)' - Arcade Fire

Lots of people have been raving about this album, and it has taken me a while to warm to it.... but I'm warming to it. It still sounds like a slightly weird mix of New Order and Mercury Rev to me.... but it's starting to seep in. I heard this on the radio last night when I was having a shower. Good song.

6. 'Run' - Snow Patrol

It's a classic, of course. Brought back to mind by its inclusion on a couple of the compilations I put out last week. Probably my favourite song of 2004 by miles.

5. 'Pale Blue Eyes' - Velvet Underground

Lou Reed is a grumpy sod, but he has written some gorgeous songs. This is a peach.

4. 'Another Sunny Day' - Belle & Sebastian

A cut from their new album, "The Life Pursuit", and another indication that the big production of their last album is here to stay. Notable because Stuart Murdoch is possibly the feyest person in the whole world, but here he sings about playing football.

They've changed.

3. 'I just died in your arms tonight' - Cutting Crew

Thanks to Alecya for planting this one in my head. It's a classic of course, and every time I hear it, I get a very distinct memory of watching the video being played on some Saturday Morning kid's TV programme....

I should have walked away-a-yay-a-yay-ah!

2. 'Standing on my own again' - Graham Coxon

The lead off single from 'Love Travels at Illegal Speeds', which comes out in March, and another indication that Damon Albarn wasn't the only talented songwriter in Blur. I don't like his new specs though.

1. 'The Guns of Brixton' - The Clash

When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun?

Accept no substitutes.


Maybe I'll get off my lazy arse and find a Guest Editor for next week.


any more takers for the fridge game? I'll do the answers and stuff in a couple of days....

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

it's only words...

Call me self-obsessed, but I saw this over at Michael's blog and I wondered what you lot would say about me.... it's a site that let's you create your own Johari Window.

As wikipedia says:

"A Johari window is a metaphorical tool intended to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships....Terms selected only by the participant, but not by any of their peers, are placed into the Façade quadrant, representing information about the participant of which their peers are unaware. It is then up to the participant whether or not to disclose this information.

Terms that are not selected by the participant but only by their peers are placed into the Blind Spot quadrant. These represent information of which the participant is not aware, but others are, and they can decide whether and how to inform the individual about these "blind spots".

Terms which were not selected by either the participant or their peers remain in the Unknown quadrant, representing the participant's behaviors or motives which were not recognized by anyone participating. This may be because they do not apply, or because there is collective ignorance of the existence of that trait."

I thought it might be an interesting exercise to see what you guys have made of me from what I write here. All you have to do is to look at the list of words, and choose the words that you reckon describe me best ("smartarse" sadly isn't there)

Click here and let me have it.

I'd be more than happy to reciprocate too, if you choose to set one up.

I just thought it might be interesting, is all.


My insurance cheque just came through, so to celebrate the fact that I have finally been able to order my replacement iPod..... the iTunes game (also stolen from Michael):

How many songs: 5, 919

Sort by song
First song: '84 Pontiac Dream - Boards of Canada
Last song: Zongamin - Soulwax (from '2 Many DJs')

Sort by artist
First artist: The Fifth Dimension ('up, up & away')
Last artist: ZZ Top ('sharp dressed man')

Sort by time
Shortest song: We're a couple - Tim & Daisy from the Spaced soundtrack (0.0.04)
Longest song: Live in Rekjavik Sept 2005 - Sigur Ros (2.12.59)

Sort by album
First album: "Heroes" - David Bowie
Last Album: Youth & Young Manhood - The Kings of Leon

Top Three Most Played Songs
1. Speed of Sound - Coldplay (41)
2. I Predict A Riot - Kaiser Chiefs (31)
3. Dakota - Stereophonics (28)

Song That First Comes Up On Shuffle
The Circus is Leaving Town - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Search . . .
by "sex," how many songs come up? 43
by "death," how many songs come up? 31
by "love," how many songs come up? 226
by "you," how many songs come up? 47

Hell. Shall we just go the whole hog and do the first 10 songs on shuffle whilst we're here?

1. All Day And All Of The Night - The Kinks
2. Idiot Brother - The Auteurs
3. Movies of Myself - Rufus Wainwright
4. Fairfax Scene - The Boo Radleys
5. Nothing Natural - Lush
6. God Save The Queen - The Sex Pistols
7. Temptation - New Order
8. Natasha - Rufus Wainwright
9. Ask - The Smiths
10. Black Dollar Bills - Hope of the States

yay! Soon I shall be back in the land of the iPod. It's been too long....

you know you want to...


Entered the fridge competition yet? Just askin'.....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

where strangers take you by the hand....

OK. Firstly, only two people have so far had a go at the fridge game.... with such amazing prizes on offer, what's holding you back?

Secondly, the owner of our last blog of the week - Wandering Scribe - has asked me to pass on her thanks to you all:

"BTW few days ago went onto your blog cos you said you were pulling me out as blog of week. Saw it and read comments. actually cried, felt so lovely to get such support and positive feedback. Could you put a message in to let those guys know was really appreciated."

So there you go. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

And on to today's business.....

Blog of the Week #7 – A rest is as good as a change

"A sabbatical"

You get a chance to get onto this one almost from the very beginning... there have only been six posts so far, although there are already some cracking photos, and hopefully there's a whole lot more to come over the next few months.

You remember Rufus-Fan? She's a colleague of mine who discovered this blog at some point in May last year, and has been a welcome visitor around these parts ever since. She's been threatening to get her own blog up and running for some time now, partly to document the sabbatical that she's taking from work for the next ten months or so, but also (I like to think) partly because I told her that she couldn't be an Earworm Guest Editor until she started one.

Well, she's finally gone and done it, and I can reveal that from now on, Rufus-Fan will be known around here as Sarah....

So far she's been on safari in Tanzania, on the beach in Zanzibar, and....er.... on the toilet in Guatemala.

I look forward to sitting at my desk in the office in cold, grey, dreary Nottingham and reading more about your adventures in some of the more beautiful spots in the world.....

Lucky cow.

Well, except for that part about Montezuma's revenge anyway....

[Previous blogs of the week: Delrico Bandito, I have ordinary addictions, Girl With A One-Track Mind, Ditch Monkey, Skinny Legs and All, Wandering Scribe]

Monday, February 20, 2006

When you lose control and you got no soul

Nine Black Alps @ Nottingham Rock City, 20th February 2006

Fridges are here - go make your guesses.

I think it's been a pretty long time since I went to a gig where I have never to my knowledge heard a note by the headliners. Nine Black Alps then..... We were late for probably the most un-rock'n'roll reason ever -- we had been watching a gripping game of curling between Denmark and Canada -- but arrived to find The Kids were out in force. To be honest, I'm never really sure if is a good sign or not, but it did mean that there was plenty of experimental facial hair, lots of first-time drinkers and just a touch of tentative snogging going on. Nice.

Shame the band were shit.

Well, maybe shit is a bit harsh, but they weren't great. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for a couple of songs. They were quite noisy and shouty, but it was the kind of stuff that you could tap your foot to, and The Kid's were rocking. After a couple of songs though, I began to concentrate on who they reminded me of: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, a touch of The Offspring perhaps.... I think the singer hopes he sounds like Kurt Cobain, but to be honest he reminded me a little of Graham Coxon and quite a lot of Jilted John. Bizarrely, one song appeared to steal the melody from "Tragedy" by the BeeGees, and that's what I was singing in the car park. That can't be good, can it? Go to a gig by a rock band and come out earworming 1970s disco.

Apparently the NME says they are the next big things.

Like they know.

They weren't really terrible, and both the band and The Kids looked like they had a decent time. I just thought that basically they were shouty nonsense.

Still, a night at a mediocre gig is better than a night in front of the telly, right? And it was only a tenner.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ice is back with my brand new invention...

So the fridges.

Here's the deal. Below you will find pictures of thirteen fridges, and the names of thirteen bloggers. All you have to do is to match the fridge to the blogger to win a fabulous prize!

Sound too hard?

To help you out, the glamorous YokoSpungeon has carefully pored each picture and provided us with the benefits of her insightful analysis.

Here are the runners and riders then:

-> bytheseashore
-> Charlie from Late Night Radio
-> Rufus-Fan (now up and running as Sarah from A rest is as good as a change)
-> Spinsterwitch from Life As I Know It
-> Suburban Hen from Suburban Hen House
-> Lithaborn
-> Aravis from Exploring Aravis
-> YokoSpungeon
-> Jenni from Wonder(ing) Goddess
-> Hyde (still posting stuff on The Annals of Mr. Hyde)
-> SwissToni
-> Mark from Fear And Loafing in England
-> Lord Bargain from The Bargain Basement

Without further ado, I'll pass you over to the tender ministrations our resident expert.... Over to you Yoko....


Herewith my ‘expert’ analysis of the 13 fridge photos you supplied me with. Please warn your good readers that I have been very imaginative, and that my guesses as to the gender, financial and marital status of the participants should be taken with a large grain of salt. Ask them to bear in mind my spectacular failures in your ‘bookshelf’ and ‘handwriting’ contests and also warn them that at time of writing, I do not know which fridge belongs to which blogger, so my readings are truly as cold as those of the fortune teller at the end of the pier.

May the best person win!


Yoko says: Here we have the fridge of a party animal; a night owl, someone who lives alone, and who is out of the house more often that they are in. A great fridge to come back to at 4am after a messy night out – we may be witnessing here the fridge of a former raver. More evidence of life lived under UV light comes from the fabulous LED temperature selector. If you turned the iPod up and opened and shut the fridge door a few times to the beat, it would be practically indistinguishable from a young persons’ discothèque!

This is someone who has been around the block though – because you can be assured of an Asti and RED Bull cocktail that’ll keep the party going until the next morning and sail you through to that awkward breakfast moment. But never fear, our man is prepared even for that! Egg on toast with a nice glass of iced tea – charmant! Might this refrigerator belong to one of our American chums? You’ll never find eggs that white in the UK, and Pepsi never arrives on these shores in 16oz cans. My only worry is for this person’s longer term health. Nothing here contains Vitamin C, and our friend is only just the right side of an attack of scurvy, because the
only vegetable matter in evidence is designed to assist seeing in the dark.


Yoko says: Aha! This is almost certainly the fridge of a couple, or possibly that of a shared house. I am getting a very friendly, sociable vibe – a love of adventure and travel, and an equal love of returning to home and hearth. There is a definite yin and yang effect in this fridge – the tiny jar of Nescafe on the top shelf provides a harmonious counterpoint to the huge cling-film covered pans and containers that scream ‘dinner parties’ to me. This is the fridge of a pair of entertainers – inclusive people who are happy to share.

There’s plenty of scope for a pick through this fridge – doesn’t that meat pie look like it might be nice cold with a couple of ginger nuts while you put your feet up in front of the box when you come back from the local? Definitely a couple – because look - someone’s forgot to buy some more MILK! Bloody hell! Points are gained for a reasonable selection of condiments in evidence and for the suggestion of chlorophyll filled items in the crisper box. Nice people. Wait – am I spying open brickwork and raw plaster in the background…is this fridge in someone’s garage, or does it belong to someone who has recently moved house?


Yoko says: This is my favourite fridge – what fun! I love that the designers have taken all the aggravating guesswork out of cold storage decision making by labelling the various areas clearly whilst subtly paying homage one of my favourite films – Withnail & I.

What a festival of futuristic fruity exuberance this fridge is! I find myself wondering whether the owner of this fridge is a vegetarian – and whether she is female. I like that she makes little Tupperware tubs of unspecified vegetable matter just in case she gets peckish, and backs this up with ready made fruit tubs in case she needs to trough out. I like that she has a cranking great flagon of milk, which she probably uses to sluice a giant bowl of Cheerio’s while typing at her keyboard in case of carbohydrate emergency.

This person may be worried about dehydration, and the condition of her skin- she dutifully has two water filters on the go at once – in fact the sheer ratio of fluid to solid in this fridge in really quite impressive. A camel would be quite comfortably accommodated. Might this be the fridge of a person who works in the healthcare field? Definitely a USA based fridge – maybe even South America judging by the AZTEC tortillas…?


Yoko says: OK, this fridge makes me die, and may eventually have the same effect on its owner. No wonder he doesn’t like vegetables, when they comprise two floppy carrots part way to paradise! Tell a lie, there are a couple of avocadoes there if I’m not mistaken, mmm…nature’s butter.

This fridge exudes sheer bachelorhood. If you brought your own bread, you could just about make yourself a nice peanut butter and jam butty, and a strong black coffee, which might just be enough fuel for you to get your shoes on and skidaddle to someone with food in the cupboards! This fridge belongs to a person who has nary a domestic bone in their body – someone for whom the takeaway meal is not a treat but a lifestyle choice. The kind of fridge owner who will come home plastered and make a sandwich using the cheese as the bread.


Yoko says: Wow, what a beautiful fridge! Lit like a little Caravaggio – this is the fridge you want to creep down and have a midnight snack from! It looks so cosy – I like the sensible ratio of water to food that going on here. A nice selection of materials for snackage; little pork pies, perhaps a slice of pizza, some beautiful fresh Covent Garden soup, and something yummy and home made looking in the tubs at the top to scoop into a bowl. Here we have the fridge of a single person, or a household where only one person is in charge of the kitchen, and that person is one with tastes encompassing comfort and nourishment. I like the big bag of salad – and wait – is that a bottle of angostura bitters in the fridge door? A jar of Dulce de leche?

This is an undercover gourmet. I am fond of a nice under the counter model, too. Very compact, European, and tidy.


Yoko says: Oh dear oh dear. Something has expired in the fridge door. Did you know lettuces contain an opiate-like compound? This one needs a dose of its own medicine. We are clearly in the land of the free again here – look at the size of that milk container – holy cow (almost literally) – and yet I am worried for this person. A few peppers and what looks like a tray of ready-made coleslaw afloat in a sea of Mountain Dew and Pepsi.

I hope this chap pops home to his parents from time to time for a feed and to do his laundry! He needs looking after, and is probably single and looking. I bet this person is unfeasibly thin and takes hits straight out of that chocolate sauce bottle to keep themselves going! Perhaps I have misjudged him…perhaps he just hasn’t been shopping yet this week…?


Yoko says: An altogether different kind of fridge. This is someone concerned with ethics and sustainability. Apart from the fabulous array of vegetables and yoghurt-y desserts, look at the three (count them) containers of delicious Covent Garden fresh soup. May I also draw your attention to what looks like a recycled pulp container, a bag of bean sprouts, and a jar containing what appears to be a human kidney? Note the lack of plastic in this fridge, there is no cling film and no Tupperware, only re-used and re-usable containers. This is the fridge of a highly conscientious woman.

On one shelf there is a selection of wines for every occasion including what looks like a bottle of Gimonnet & Fils Brut Cuis Premier Cru Champagne. A perfectionist. A thinker. A person of great taste and distinction.


Yoko says: A fascinating fridge full of contradictions. I spy a cheeky Tunnock’s Teacake and a Milky Way in the door, a packet of Kit-Kats and some white bread, brown sauce and petit filou. Here is someone thoroughly unpretentious – a salt of the earth family – a purveyor of bacon sandwich, barbecue and chilli con carne. This is the most dairy product infused fridge by far – and the only contender that features a freezer compartment and chocolate. I congratulate the owner on his no nonsense approach and fearless honesty of presentation. Yes, that’s a baby bottle placed slap bang in the centre, but in the immortal words of Hannibal Lecter “Doesn’t it seem like the elaboration of a bad liar?”


Yoko says: Here’s a very well balanced fridge – it has that indefinable good mix of grazing material and solid ‘cook from scratch’ ingredients. This is surely the work of a couple – look at that mind-blowing selection of condiments! That’s the work of more than one set of taste buds. A good mix of meat, vegetable and liquid – this fridge speaks to me of rationality, comfort, worldliness and cricket. What’s that at the back, under the foil? It looks like a corking great big syrup sponge or something, doesn’t it?

This fridge is health without denial – the embodiment of the idea that a little bit of what you fancy does you good. Straightforward and sensible. Note the enormous quarter of Edam – that’s family sized. Also note that this fridge contains no bottles. This person stores their wine in a cupboard, or a second fridge. It’s the fridge of an affluent house, not a flat, possibly even that of a parent. Balance and health consciousness without faddism.


Yoko says: This person enjoys pickled herring – whether pickled in mustard, or with carrots onions and spices; and this may indicate a Scandinavian music connection - or is that a red herring? I must confess that the regimented rows of Robinsons Fruit Shoots are freaking me out. This is an obsessive planner, a person who leaves nothing to accident. For dinner tonight is lentil and bacon soup, next is bangers and mash followed by a strawberry yoghurt, and accompanied by a glass of Innocent de-tox and finally succumbs to the guilty pleasure of a Robinson’s Froot Shoot chaser! Note that there are only 7 – one per night, and colour coded. Perhaps this strict regimentation reflects a strict intake of calories? Someone training for a sporting event, or trying to lose weight?

In any case, the salad dressing and Thousand Island aren’t fooling anyone - there hasn’t been any vegetable matter in this fridge since 2005. Look how shiny the glass is! I bet this person is a demon once those E-numbers kick in. Light the fuse and watch them go. All that pent up energy!


Yoko says: I’ve been straining my eyes, but I can’t make head or tail of this fridge. It’s a fridge that is ashamed of itself. Look how all the labels are turned away from us. This fridge belongs to an introverted and shy person, one who can only tolerate others in small doses. I hestitate to speculate upon what exactly that is in the plastic tub on the middle shelf. A part of the owner of this fridge has never really grown up. They indulge their inner child with Laughing Cow triangles and chocolate spread and nursery food like boiled eggs and soldiers.

This person is young at heart if not actually very young, and has no interest in food at all, other than as fuel. This is the sort of person who might eat the squirty cream straight out of the bottle in YOUR fridge the moment your back was turned. Laid back and self-indulgent, but probably a lot of fun and fiercely loyal once they come out of their shell. This person has strong anti-corporate leanings.


Yoko says: If I had a midi file of the musical phrase of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, I’d insert it here. A haunted fridge! The Fridge of the Baskervilles! This fridge probably has a smoke machine and owl hoots that automatically kick off as you open the door. Having established the atmosphere – I have to draw attention to the extreme contrast supplied by the contents. This is the most utilitarian fridge I have ever seen.

The baskets take the practical containment of foodstuffs to a new level. Bags be gone! All veg. here is fast, loose and equal! I picture this person sitting down to their reductionist luncheon – perhaps a spring onion dunked straight into the Hellmann’s jar, thence straight into the hummus, then down the jolly old trap. No washing up needed, just slide the empty jars into the black hole at the bottom. Probably chase that down with a nice tangerine. Perhaps don’t even bother to peel it; it’ll only make a mess.

This person is very serious, and very busy, with a consequently pragmatic approach to diet. Food is fuel, and diet can be best approached by its fundamental components. Fibre – fat – sugar. Salt of the earth, with a strong connection to nature. Quite possibly even a gardener.


Yoko says: This is a massively fruit and vegetable oriented fridge, quite in your face. A preponderance of lemons make me suspect an acid sense of humour. I can see two definitely low fat products, so this person is health conscious on the surface, possibly dieting. Wait - is that a sneaky beer I spy hidden behind that huge jar of olives? There is something exuberant and artistic about the way the fruits and veg are chucked in this fridge.

Note the unapologetic own-brand label down at the bottom there, this is someone who is practical and thrifty in some respects, and yet as evidenced by the jumbo box of strawberries at the top, extravagant in others. Rather a lot of packaging and plastic in this fridge – someone who lives for today? There is no meat and little dairy in evidence; does this indicate that the owners are vegan? I guess this is either the fridge of a single woman or a couple.


Excellent work Yoko, excellent work. But which fridge belongs to which blogger.......?

Pop your guesses into the comments box below for a chance at winning these fabulous prizes:

-> A SwissToni compilation CD, lovingly crafted by my own fair hand and specifically tailored with the winner in mind !!

-> The chance of being the Guest Editor in the Earworm of the Week slot.... even if the winner has done it before !!

-> The honour of choosing the title for a future post on this blog (in the house style, obviously).

Can you say any fairer than that?

Thanks for all your entries. Now it's over to you.....

Friday, February 17, 2006

To call for hands of above

It's Friday, and luckily this week I've been (just about) organised enough to make sure we have a Guest Editor to lead us in our devotions....

Let's get stuck straight in then, eh?

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

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #34 - Phil from Freespurge

So this is me on the infamous blog of Swisstoni writing my very own Earworms post.

As ST explained it to me my task is to list the 10 tunes that have been stuck in my head this week. I'll be honest, when he first asked me I thought it'd be really easy as two tunes sprang to mind instantly (then proceeded to play on an endless loop)but I've had to give it some thought as to what the other 8 tracks that have doubtlessly been earworming my psyche.

Okay, down to business;

10. "Heartbeats" - Jose Gonzalez

Steph bought me the Jose Gonzalez album (coz she's great) and the track "Hearbeats" has been featuring quite often on my mental playlist. For those that haven't heard it, just look out for the Sony Bravia tv advert, it's the track they use for that.

9. "Cosmo Canyon" (from Final Fantasy VII)

This one is obscure at best, incredibly sad at worse, but it's something that's been running through my wee-brain for ages, and I mean AGES, which is "Cosmo Canyon" used in the Squaresoft game Final Fantasy VII. I've been wanting to get hold of the game for the PC for ages, having enjoyed it so much on the PlayStation. Having just one it on E-bay I managed to download it the soundtrack, and the track is just as cool as I remember.

8. "In The Crossfire" - Starsailor

From their new album 'On the Outside'. There's no real reason for this other than I really like this song.

7. "I Love You Baby" - Andy Williams

This has been running through my head for the past 5 days solid entirely because Steph's been here and I've always felt like singing it when she's around in a suitably self-deprecating silly fashion that makes her laugh, but appreciates the sentiment.

6. "Most of the Time" - Bob Dylan

...as featured in the film 'High Fidelity'. It's one of my favourite songs and is regularly on my MP3 playlist.

5. "Knocking on Heavens Door" - Bob Dylan

...because it's just amazing. Really short though.

Both of these have been running round my noodle because my flatmate is writing his dissertation on the Poetry of Bob Dylan and so, inevitably, songs come to the surface.

4. "Better Together" - Jack Johnson

It's such a "nice" song. It's very sweet and easy to like, but, I suppose, easy to get annoyed with, but again, because of the recent girlfriendness and Valentines Day it's a song that's been playing a lot in my head.

3. "Suddenly I See" - KT Tunstall

It's a great song. I'm not sure as to its rating against other tracks on the album, but it's a CD that's been playing over the last few days and that's the one that seems to have a vice like grip on me, especially when I'm in the shower. Best left well alone...

2. Firefly - Main Theme

For anyone who reads or has even glanced at my blog you'll know that I'm a little bit of a fan for Firefly and Serenity. So as such it's probably no real surprise that "Firefly - Main Theme" has been a tune I hum while pottering about. Seeing as Troy is a fan too and periodically plays the soundtrack as often as me, it's a song I hear alot.

1. "Love" (from the "Serenity" soundtrack)

Lastly this track from the Serenity soundtrack. It's a kick ass piece that's, for those that have seen it, is at the end of the film when Serenity takes off with Mal and River at the controls. It's got so much energy and I'll often just play that track (loud) because it puts me in a positive mood.

So there we go, my guest spot on Swisstoni's place over already. I hope folk enjoyed my Earworms.


Thanks Phil. Another good list. I like having Guest Editors. I suppose I'll just have to pull my finger out and line up a few more for the next few weeks, eh? Any volunteers? I want to get to 50 before we start having people have a second go, mind...

In other news, the fridges are now with Yoko for analysis and should be up on here in the next few days. I know you can hardly wait....

[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, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn]

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

passing the gun from father to feckless son

Elbow @ Nottingham Rock City, 15th February 2006

As I've already described elsewhere this week, I have a ludicrously short-attention span at gigs. I am really, really easy to distract. Sometimes it's the guy chatting to his mates just behind me; sometimes it's the people checking their phones every 2 minutes to see if they have a new text, or waving it at the stage trying to record/video/photograph the band; sometimes it's the person standing just a little too close to me; sometimes it's the tall guy who keeps moving so he is standing directly in front of me.... sometimes this tall person is Lord B.... Even my memories of some of the best concerts I have ever attended are softened around the edges by something peripheral that managed to draw my attention away from the band. You want to know the reason why I seem to be so stingy with my marks out of ten at gigs? More often than not it's the distraction factor.

For three songs, Elbow were brilliant. They came onto the stage, looked genuinely pleased to be there, and launched into 'Station Approach', 'Fallen Angel' and 'Red'. They're a great band. They remind me a little of a non-stadium friendly Coldplay - with a better and more inventive lyricist. They're very downbeat and slightly melancholy, but they have a wonderful knack with a tune, and given the right moment, can be wonderfully uplifting. They deserve to be massive, but I would be very surprised if that ever really happens. Rock City was quite a long way from being sold out tonight. Lord B has been carping a little all day about not being in the mood for seeing a miserable indie band, and I think partly because of that moaning, I've been really looking forward to seeing them play all day, and I was delighted to be so captivated by their opening gambit. Then they played a quieter one, and the crowd started to chat, to head to the bar, to make a move to the toilet.... and the moment was gone. It wasn't really recaptured for me until right at the end of the set when we got to hear songs like 'Newborn', 'Powder Blue', 'Puncture Repair' and 'Forget Myself'.

There are lots of different ways of working your way though a crowd. My own preferred technique is to lay a gentle hand on someone's shoulder to let them know I'm there, make eye-contact with them as they turn, and then sidle past. The favoured technique at Rock City this evening was the shove, sometime accompanied by the poke. I know that some movement at a gig is inevitable, but do we really have to be so rude about it? I also think it's pretty rude to stop on your way through the crowd, turn back to the mate who is following you and to start chatting to him - all in the middle of a song.


Interruptions in the quieter songs aside, I thought Elbow were really good tonight. Guy Garvey has a nice easy way with a crowd, managing to engage us in a little bit of banter, including a small monologue about how brocolli is a man-made vegetable, whereas chips come from potatoes, which come from the ground. He also quite likes introducing songs with a phrases like "this next song is... great" but he manages to do it without sounding conceited too.

It was the band's first show since Christmas, but if they were at all rusty, it didn't show. As Garvey put it at the end: "This isn't a very difficult job, but you made it fucking easy". The pleasure (crowd distractions aside), was all mine, and I've come home wanting to listen to "Asleep In The Back", and you can't really say fairer than that.

7 / 10 - recommended.

Right people, right time; just the wrong location

I'm off to Rock City with Lord B in a minute to go and enjoy the downbeat pleasures of the mighty Elbow ... but before I go, I've just got time to tell you about Little Britain.

I bought these tickets something like fourteen months ago (I think that's a personal best for anything apart from the Ryder Cup). That's a long time to wait for anything. It's probably just as well that I had more or less forgotten that we were going, as if I'd actually been really looking forward to this, then I think it might have been a crushing disappointment.

They were alright.

Most of the characters were present and correct, and the audience quickly got into the swing of cheering the catchphrases ("Yeah, I know", "yeah but no but yeah but...", "I'm a lady!", "I'm the only gay in the village", "Computer says no", "write the pheem choon, sing the pheem choon"..... and so on). And I chuckled along, but my heart wasn't really in it.

It was funny after a fashion, but I think that basically the characters lack any warmth or humanity, and it's all a bit clinical. I watched the "Fast Show" in the same venue a couple of years ago, and I thought they were excellent. On the face of it, it's a similar kind of show, with both being basically reliant upon the comedy of repeated catchphrases. With the Fast Show, the characters are portrayed with a lot more compassion; the comedy is less cruel. As a result I think it is more comfortable laughing along with them. Little Britain is a whole lot crueller, built as it is upon laughing at other people.

They weren't terrible by any means. They were OK. They were only OK.

I did laugh when Dennis Waterman was carried off by a seagull though....

Right. Off to Elbow.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down

Blog of the Week #6 – Wandering Scribe

I think I’ve found a real corker this week.

Well, I say that I found it, but really I stumbled across this one via Lithaborn via Ditch Monkey (where she did a guest post a week or so ago).

Here’s what I know: Wandering Scribe is a homeless girl who lives in a car parked on a lane near some woods somewhere around London. She is intelligent (she studied law at university) and she is articulate but she is also heart-stoppingly vulnerable.

I urge you to go and have a look. I think she writes absolutely beautifully, and she is a voice calling out from a place where people like you and me don’t often hear voices. I think she deserves to be heard.

Do I need to say anything else? Go and discover her for yourselves.

[Previous blogs of the week: Delrico Bandito, I have ordinary addictions, Girl With A One-Track Mind, Ditch Monkey, Skinny Legs and All]

Monday, February 13, 2006

Viens petite fille dans mon comic strip, viens faire des bulles

As is traditional, I brought back a few bags of French sweets from my holiday for the ungrateful gannets at work. One of these bags contained some relatively tasty chews called "Carambar Fruits". On the wrapper, these boldly advertise "Blagues Tordantes!", and sure enough, there's a joke written on the back of each one.

This one was my favourite:

3 Bonnes Raisons.... de péter dans son bain:

1) Ça fait des bulles et tu peux t'amuser à les compter

2) Ça fera des vagues pour ton canard en plastique

3) Tu remonteras la température sans utiliser le robinet

... but then I've always liked potty humour.


As I've got a fantastic candidate lined up for tomorrow's "Blog of the Week", I thought I'd tie up a loose end and announce the winner of last week's "Blog of the Week" now.

I know you're all on tenterhooks.

Well. The dancing badgers have it.

The winner is Skinny Legs And All, who now has about twenty-four hours to revel in his crown. Well done all (and I'm filing forksplit away for future reference).

Thanks for your nominations and for your votes. It's actually quite difficult to go and find one decent blog a week worth pulling out, so I really appreciate your help. If you see anyone else worth looking at in your travels, do be sure to point them out to me....


I idly asked C. this morning when we were going to go and see "Little Britain". Rather ludicrously we booked the tickets about 14 months ago, so I thought it must be coming up sooner rather than later.

C. couldn't remember, so she checked the tickets when we got home.

Still. At least I now know what we're doing for Valentine's Day, eh?


I'm going to send the fridge pictures over to Yoko for her analysis in the next few days... so if you were planning on submitting a picture, this is probably your last chance.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

he's gotta be larger than life...

The fifth season of "24" started on UK television this evening.

I'm pleased to be able to report that it is as spectacularly silly as ever. Two things appear certain:

1) Jack Bauer's position as the world's über alpha male will be secure

2) I will be hopelessly addicted to this nonsense for the next six months.

Helicopters! Explosions! Assassinations! Terrorists! Conspiracies!

Run Kim! Run!

Stupidly implausible? Yes. Brilliantly compelling? Undoubtedly.

May God bless America and all who sail in her.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

because you can't and you won't and you don't stop

I went for my usual Saturday morning run earlier - a 35-ish minute meander alongside the river Trent - and it was really hard work. This isn't especially unusual: I have never felt like a particularly natural runner, and it's a very rare day indeed when I can come home from a run and can categorically say that I felt good all the way around. Running is the kind of exercise that I enjoy having done; not the kind of thing I actual enjoy doing.

Anyway. Today it was hard work.

This comes at the end of a week where almost every bit of exercise that I attempted felt really difficult. I went for a swim on Monday to try to work the stiffness of a week's skiing out of my muscles and I dragged my weary body through 50 long lengths. On Tuesday I was back at the gym and struggled my way through 35 long minutes on the treadmill. I gave myself a day off on Wednesday, but on Thursday I played 90 minutes of football. The football was terrible: I felt as though I barely had any energy, and over the course of the game, I completely lost sensation in my arms from the shoulder down. It was a cold night, certainly, but I was wearing a thermal base layer, a beanie and a pair of gloves, so I should have been warm enough. It was a little bit depressing.

And so to today's run. I started out okay, but I quickly started to feel the usual weakness in my left shoulder, which turned into a tingling that spread slowly down my arm and into my hands. Then my right arm began to tingle, then my thighs began to feel slightly numb, and then I lost sensation in my right foot. I made it home okay in about 43 minutes (although part of the reason for the longer-than-usual time is the detour I was forced to take due to part of the riverbank being closed). According to my heart rate monitor I burned off 684 calories, but somehow I feel a lot more worn down than that.

I first noticed the tingling in my hands some time towards the end of June last year, and since then I have had a number of neurological consultations and a set of extensive MRI scans. That's more than six months, and basically nothing has changed. I know that I have some sort of inflammation on my cervical spinal cord, and that this inflammation has damaged my nerves - hence the tingling. That's about as much as medical science can manage. It might get better. It might not. It might turn out to be a one-off. It might be the first symptom of something else (most likely Multiple Sclerosis). There is no benefit to be made in rushing into a definitive diagnosis, because there is no treatment, and apparently I won't do myself any harm by carrying on with my exercise programme, although I might find that things become harder to do than they were before. And so I wait, and I try not to let these new physical limits get in the way of me carrying on doing the things that I enjoy.

Self pity isn't really my thing, and I feel like I should apologise for unloading this stuff here. It's just been a bad week, is all. I'm sure things will be better next week.


I've got 10 fridge pictures so far - are there any more for any more? In case you've had your head in a hole, what I need you to do is to take a picture of the inside of your fridge and send it to me at the email address in my profile. I will then send them all to Yoko for a bit of expert analysis, and then I will put them all up here and we can play the game of trying to work out which fridge belongs to which blogger.

If you were half thinking that you might like to play, then get your camera out and send me the picture in the next couple of days --- Bargs, Foxy, Spin, Flash, Graham, Alecya, Ka (and the rest).... do you fancy playing?

Friday, February 10, 2006

he has a powerful weapon....

Earworms of the Week

Only me this week, I'm afraid, but I've got a headful to tunes from my week off that I desperately need to unload onto you.

If you're of a nervous disposition, probably best if you look away now.

10) "Such a Small Love" - Scott Walker

"Someone should have stopped the birds from singing today,
Hammers from striking nails into clay"

A combination of *that* voice and a song about loss. Gets me every time. Beautiful record.

9) "Ugly" - Sugababes

This is one of those songs that C. asked me to download that otherwise would not be a part of my iTunes library. Do you know what though? This is a cracking little song, and how can you not approve of a tune with this kind of sentiment in it:

"People are all the same
And we only get judged by what we do
My personality reflects name
And if I'm ugly then
So are you"

Isn't that a better and more empowering message than anything P.Diddy has managed to date?

8) "Celebrity Tarzan"

I've recently re-tuned the radios in the bathroom and in the kitchen from BBC Five Live (a talk based news and sport station) to BBC Radio One. The playlist has improved so much over the last few years, that I have re-discovered the simple pleasure of listening to a good tune in the shower. The Zane Lowe show is also a good place for discovering new bands and new material by old favourites (earlier this week he gave the new Morrissey single its world premiere). Sad to say I also quite like Chris Moyles. His persona is that of a fat, loud, sexist lad - but he plays reasonable music, he's the same age as me, and we share the same cultural reference points. This is a jingle to a silly game on the show where you hear a clip of some famous person doing a Tarzan call, and you have to guess who they are. It's not a great game, but it has the most ferociously catchy tune with the stupidest lyrics.

Hear it here.

"...This game's so fun, so marzipan
If you can guess who is our celebrity Tarzan..."

I've been singing this on and off for weeks.


7) "Batya" - The Ukranians

A cover of "Bigmouth Strikes Again" by The Smiths, in Ukranian. Genius.

(and thanks again to foxy for the MP3s)

6) "Life Becoming A Landslide" - Manic Street Preachers

"Gold Against the Soul" isn't the best album this lot have ever done, and tends to be a bit over-produced. This song is a little cracker though.

5) "Jonny Briggs"

The theme tune to a long lost children's TV programme from my youth. This one is never far from my lips, and usually leads to a spontaneous trombone impersonation (everyone thinks that they can do a good air trombone, just like everyone thinks they can do a good impression of Michael Caine or can trumpet like an elephant. In almost all cases, they are wrong.)

You're trying one of them now, aren't you?

Listen to the theme tune here and have a go.

British people of a certain age will get all nostalgic now, and start thinking about Rentaghost, Jamie & the Magic Torch and the like.

4) "Wicked Soul" - Kubb

I went to see this lot the other week, and gave them a so-so review. I've been listening to the album in the car since then (until it was usurped by the new Belle & Sebastian album this week). It's really growing on me.

3) "The Art Teacher" - Rufus Wainwright

A lovely, lovely record by a fantastic talent. It's about getting a crush on your teacher. Beautiful (the song, not my art teacher.... Mr.McKillop was no picture, I can assure you)

2) "Chocolate Salty Balls" - Chef

The next couple of songs are ones that I genuinely found myself singing out loud as I was skiing last week - on the chairlifts, as I went down the slopes... wherever. This one needs to be sung in your best Isaac Hayes voice, or else it just won't work.

"Say everybody have you seen my balls?
They're big and salty and brown
If you ever need a quick Pick-me-up
Just stick my balls in your mouth!
Ooh, suck on my chocolate salty balls,
Stick em in your mouth and suck em!
Suck on my Chocolate Salty balls
they're packed full of vitamins, and good for you,
So suck on My balls!"

Childish I know.

I bet the French loved this record, and I bet they loved hearing a tall English bloke singing it to them on their mountain.

1) "The Man With the Golden Gun" - Lulu

So here's my theory: there's lots of skiing in Bond films. I was skiing.

Ergo Lulu.

Another good one for baffling the French. The only obvious downside is that you then find yourself suddenly going

"WEEEEEEE-EEEE-EEEEE-EEEEEL.... you know it makes me want to SHOUT" etc.

Not good.


More 'worms next week.



Thursday, February 09, 2006

as I live and breathe, you have killed me

Alright then, here are the nominations for "Blog of the Week":

1) Skinny Legs and All (nominated by Spins)

This page has a dancing badger on it. What more do you need to know? That is also a great story about censorship, the Doors and the Rolling Stones.

2) The Pissed Kitty Cometh (nominated by Alecya)

She's just had a bereavement, so this may not be the best time to be passing any kind of judgement. Still. She does hate people and back fat, so she sounds pretty cool to me.

3) Forksplit (nominated by Ben)

Mike at Troubled Diva has been raving about this blog, so it's probably worth a look (even if I am instinctively suspicious of blogs with lots of readers). Long posts though and I'm feeling kind of tired. Mike's word is good though, so I've blogrolled this and I'll come back when I'm at work or something...

4) Jamshed Velayuda Rajan (nominated by K)

I get the feeling that this is another much read blog: there's a button saying that this won a Bloggeratti award or something and he seems to get a whole pile of comments. Oh, and there's also a counter saying he's had 139,254 hits. Lots. Still, popularity is inevitable if all of this guy's jokes are as good as his joke on neutrons ("for you sir, no charge!"). He has a cricket blog too. Nice. (oh - I've found some more jokes. Man this guy is good!)

5) The Tonya Show (nominated by the Anon-nominator - I'm suspicious, but I'll let that pass...)

Ok - the first bit is blank, so you have to scroll down the page a little to get to the good stuff. No, I don't know why either, although it's something to do with the sidebar. I'd change template, but perhaps that's just me. On the other hand, she is giving out mix tapes as competition prizes, so she can't be all bad, right? (although I suppose that depends what's on the tapes. Any sign of Mick Hucknall and I'm leaving). I do love the picture of the sad looking Christmas tree still in the front room in February.


So. If you care, vote for the one you prefer and it will be called blog of the week (although I have to tell you that I'm boring myself now....)

Next week I think I'm just going to pick one. Now I see the attractions of totalitarianism as a political philosophy. It's easier.



(and thanks to all those people who are have already submitted pictures... I'll look to pop them up some time towards the back end of next week, I think).

I just keep losing my beat


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

And that’s a pretty nice haircut...

The only thing I feel I need to share with you this evening is the glorious news that I am coming up as the number one search result on "Cool Guy Haircuts"....

What could possibly top that? Should I make some kind of an acceptance speech?

I'm so proud.

I guess I should offer up a big hello to all my new readers who came here wanting some haircut tips or perhaps just to admire my glossy mane of hair, eh?

Seriously. Any hairstyling tips that you need - you just ask away....

(Do you think I should tell them that I...er.... wear a lot of hats? that a single bottle of shampoo lasts me about a year? No? Well, I'm sure you know best....)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I never needed anybody’s help in any way

This is normally the slot where I reveal my "Blog of the Week". Not today though.

I haven't got one for you this week. This is partly because I've been on holiday, but also quite a lot to do with the fact that I haven't found anything worth sharing with you. Nothing. I've got one or two possibles, but nothing that has really jumped out and grabbed me, and certainly nothing I want to share with you.

So much internet, so much rubbish.

I need your help.

What I want to do this week is to throw open the floor for nominations. I want you to look through your blogrolls and links and each choose one blog to nominate as Blog of the Week.

There aren't any rules. You can nominate anything you want, including yourself if you like.

At the end of the week, I'll create a shortlist and we can have a vote on who's the winner.

What do you say?

Get nominating!

(and don't think this means you don't have to send me a picture of your fridges!!)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Whatcha gonna do? rap is not afraid of you

So the number 1 single in the UK this week is "Nasty Girl" by the Notorious B.I.G. and featuring such luminaries as P.Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm.

I know I shouldn't give a shit about this, but I really do. I wish that I could just shrug my shoulders, admire the glossy production values and tap my foot to the catchy tune, but I can't.

This is toss and it pisses me off.

Let's have a look at some of the lyrics:


I go, on and on and on and
Don't take them to the crib unless they bon'in

[I think this is some sort of reference to his own sexual prowess and longevity]

Easy, call em on the phone and
platinum Chanel cologne and
I stay, dressed, to impress
Spark these bitches interest

[Women are only interested in bling. Wear some bling and they'll forget you are the same size as a beached whale and will be magnetically drawn to them... or perhaps if they have a magnet on them, you're the one who is drawn to them]

Sex is all I expect

[expect away fatboy]

If they watch TV in the Lex, they know
They know, quarter past fo'
Left the club tipsy, say no mo'
Except how I'm gettin home, tomorrow
Caesar drop you off when he see his P.O.(hey)

[sorry - no idea]

Back of my mind, I hope she swallow
Man She spilt a drink on my cream wallows

[dreaming again fatboy - she'll never find it]

Reach the gate, hungry just ate

[hungry and you just ate? a tapeworm?]

Riffin, she got to be to work by eight
This must mean she ain't tryin to wait

[perhaps she's already working?]

Conversate, sex on the first date I state "You know what you do to me"
She starts off, "Well I don't usually"

[I don't blame her. Would you?]

Then I, whip it out, rubber no doubt

[well, I suppose we should give the guy some credit for that]

Step out, show me what you all about
Fingers in your mouth, open up your blouse
Pull your G-string down South, aoowww

[ah, because that's what all women wear, isn't it?]

Threw that back out, in the parking lot
By a Cherokee and a green drop-top

[presumably the cars are filled with bling and have that ridiculous suspension that bounces them up and down, right?]

And I don't stop, until I squirt
Jeans skirt butt-naked it all work

[it's a form of urban poetry, I think]

Gotta love ma little nasty girl
U know I love ma little nasty girl
I love ma little nasty girl
All the ladies if u hear me
Grab Ur titties for B.I.G
I love ma little nasty girl
All ma women from around the world
I love ma little nasty girl
All the ladies if u hear me
Grab Ur titties for B.I.G

[nice - but wait! here come P.Diddy to rescue us from this sexist tripe]

I need u to dance
I need u to strip
I need u to shake Ur little ass n hips
I need u to grind like Ur working for tips

[ah. My mistake.]

N give me what I need while we listen to prince

[cos prince is sexy music, innit?]

Coz miss U ain't seen the world yet
Rocked la pearl yet
Rocked them pearl sets
Flew in em pearl jets (ooooohhhhh)

[translates as "I may be an odious, tasteless little shit, but I do have money"]

In a style make a low profile girl smile
Throw a chick back like a blue print trial
Now u n me can drink some Hennessy

[right. cos that's classy, yeah?]

Then we get it on
Mad women wantin to bone Sean Combs

[This can't be true? Isn't this the same guy who used to be the butler in The Fresh Prince?]

Sippin on Patron

[cos that's expensive too, innit?]

Speeding we be leanin
Got em feeling
N when I give it to u throw it right back (right back)
Tell me Diddy 'Yeah I like it like that' (like that)
Lift your shirt
U know how I flirt
Heels and skirt
Let's take it off
Now lets work (lets work)

[what a horrible mental image, and would you really be able to call him "Diddy" in bed without cracking up?]

Gotta love ma little nasty girl
U know I love ma little nasty girl
I love ma little nasty girl
All the ladies if u hear me
Grab Ur titties for B.I.G
I love ma little nasty girl
All ma women from around the world
I love ma little nasty girl
All the ladies if u hear me
Grab Ur titties for B.I.G

Uh with JE and B.I.G (what, what)
Grab the keys from Diddy (Uh, uh)
The women look-in ... no stress
Meet us upstairs in Ur best .....Yes
Dressed to impress
Spark these bitches interest
Jazze on the beat so sweet
Ladies know u feel me
Grab Ur titties for the B.I.G

[blah blah blah - let's see if Nelly can raise the tone at all]

Ok ma what's Ur preference
Nice and slow
Or fast and breathless
Pull Ur hair girl, bite Ur necklace
Let me show u what a nigger from Lou blessed with

[that's a 'no' then?]

Hey.... I'm exprained to leave
When I'm done I flip the mattress
Change the sheet (Gotta change them)
I'm like a radical one
I vibrate a little more than Ur mechanical one


(From Ur titties to you thong)
Either way mama I'm a make u do it or do it
(Girl I'm about to make u come)
Guaranteed when Ur fuckin with me
(Coz I go on and on and on...on and on and on....on and on and)
Ladies if u feel me
Grab them Thangs fo Biggie

[it's good this, isn't it?]

Gotta love ma little nasty girl
U know I love ma little nasty girl
I love ma little nasty girl (u Gotta love it baby)
All the ladies if u hear me
Grab ur titties for B.I.G
I love ma little nasty girl
All ma women from around the world
I love ma little nasty girl
All the ladies if u hear me
Grab ur titties for B.I.G

[I wonder if there's anything on the telly]

Ladies and Gentlemen you are now tuning into the very best
Jazze Phizzle
Nelly now
Jagged edge (u no that u looovvveee)
The Notorious (notorious)
B. I. G
The Biggie duets
Bad boys
Show enough (Show enough)
Ladies and gentlemen
Let's go [X4]
Hey hey hey... hey

[and that's it... thank Christ... of course you know exactly what the video is going to be like, don't you?]


Am I the only person in the world who finds this to tasteless, offensive shite? Why do so many rappers have to fall into such sexist doggerel and empty braggadocio about how much money they have, how good they are in bed and how the 'bitches' all love them?

Music doesn't have to be meaningful, but does it have to be quite so offensive?

Or should I just get over it?


Chapter 3 of my Nano novel is up, by the way.


I need pictures of the insides of your fridges please --- send your photos to the email address in my profile.


That's it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

river deep, mountain high

C and I posing at the top of the ski-down to Les Menuires

Je suis revenu. After six days of gloriously sunny skiing in the French Alps, C. and I are now safely back in a rather grey and dreary Nottingham. I've just had a quick check, and I'm pleased to report that all limbs are present and correct, and that muscles are tired but happy.

French and English school holidays start this week, so we accidentally timed our trip perfectly and caught the resort in the calm before the storm. The slopes were relatively quiet and the prices were still off-peak. Next week will be twice as expensive and the queues for the lifts will be twice as long as the Three Valleys will be filled with Parisians and their screaming children: not my idea of fun. We saw the first wave start to hit the slopes on Saturday afternoon (apparently they leave the city on Friday evening, drive down overnight and get out onto the piste as soon as they arrive - frankly you are just better off staying out of their way as they ski like lunatics).

Courchevel 1850 is one of the poshest ski resorts in the world, and the sky on Saturday was filled with the buzzing of little planes and helicopters dropping the rich at the little airport carved out of the mountain - they arrived wearing skis and walk across the runway to the edge of the piste and ski down to their hotels. I arrived on a scheduled flight, queued for an hour or so to get through customs and to pick up my bags, met my coach and drove the 3 hours or so up into the mountains. I'm not jealous at all. Oh no. Although watching that lot arriving on the mountain, I did decide there and then that if I did win the Euro Lottery (jackpot was £125m last week), then in future there would have to be some changes in my travel plans....

The view across Courchevel Altiport

The weather was fantastic - blue skies and sunshine every day - making it a real pleasure to slap on some sun-block, stick on the sunglasses and head out onto the slopes every morning. The only problem with this is that temperatures that are consistently above freezing are not exactly ideal for snow. There hasn't actually been any fresh snow in the Three Valleys since 18th January, and it's starting to show. The pisteurs do a fantastic job of grooming the runs overnight, but in places on the piste it was getting a little bit thin and icy. This means that skiing conditions are getting difficult in some places, with ice and emerging rocks and pebbles making runs very much harder.

If your technique is good enough to ski on this, we were told, apparently you can ski on anything.

...from here all you have to do is to point your skis downhill

I wouls say that C. and I are competent but slightly cautious skiiers, so this year we decided to spend a morning having some intensive tuition from an instructor from the Ecole du Ski Francais.... it was well worth it too.... Much to my delight and to C's annoyance, Claude informed us that my technique was excellent but that C. looked like a toad when she skiied. In search of a steeper slope to test our control, we were quickly taken up onto a black run. Not steep enough, apparently, so we were guided off-piste from there to a more challenging slope and spent a few hours working our way down terrifyingly steep and icy cliffs. Apparently the key is to point your skis downhill and to take short controlled turns. Easier said than done when every instinct in your body is screaming at you to stay exactly where you are if you want to avoid certain death....

Cloud rolling into the valley by La Tania and La Praz

Anyway, we survived and I naturally spent the rest of the week informing people that they should call me "the technician".... until I hit a stone and went flying over my skis on stretch of flat ground on a green run.... at which point I thought I'd keep quiet for a bit.

regular coffee stops are an essential part of the training for any performance skiier...

So. Excellent company, good food, lots of fizzy French beer, the odd glass or two of wine and a spot of exercise out in the fresh air.

It was delightful.

Tomorrow: work.


How are you?


More picures of the insides of your fridges for "Guess Who The Fridge Belongs To" please....