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

Friday, September 29, 2006

stop playing with my heart, finish what you start...

Thanks heavens for the weekend. I was still in Ireland on Monday, so I've actually only worked for four days this week. Somehow it feels like a month. Hey ho. It's Friday now, which means that the working week is nearly done, and that we can start to relax into our weekend by pondering the mystic concept of the Earworm.

This week we've got another Guest Editor to lead our contemplations.

So, ladies and gentleworms, without further ado... it is my great pleasure to introduce for your earworming pleasure....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #42 - Tina from Your Mind And We

Well I pleaded with Swiss Toni to let me do this so I'd better put a bit of effort into it!

1) Borderline - Madonna

No introduction needed here. I'm not Mrs Ritchie's greatest fan but I adore this track, which came on during the shuffle mode on my beloved MP3 player earlier in the week. Mike Randle did an acoustic version of this track when he did a solo show at Fibbers in York and it sounded good that way as well.

2) 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton

Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch and try to come to life
Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin'
Out on the street the traffic starts jumpin'
The folks like me on the job from 9 to 5

Dolly, dontcha just love her! She's become almost a pastiche of herself, but my bet would be that’s she's one of the smartest artistes on the planet.

P.S. Just spotted that Lord Bargain had this in his list or earworms last week - that must be where it inveigled its way into my head - just goes to show how very earwormy the track is!!

3) Rudebox - Robbie Williams

According to Victoria Newton of the Sun "The worst record ever made..." Personally I love it. Good show Robbie old chap! If you look at the website via the link, check the video clip with Lego men - sheer brilliance!

P.S. Interesting fact - Victoria Newton lived for a while in West Bridgford as a teenager, she is the daughter of Don Newton who was deputy head at Rushcliffe School.

4) One night in Bangkok - Murray Head

A song about chess... you don't get many of those. In fact I can't think of any others.. "From a jack to a king" - oh no that’s cards - "Only a pawn in the game" perhaps??

I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!

I heard this on the radio the other day and can't get it out of my head since - its from an obscure musical written by the Abba boys and Tim Rice. Great lyrics.

5) Superfreak - Rick James

We saw the great film "Little Miss Sunshine" last week and this track features in its amazingly funny denouement - see it if you possibly can!!

Where MC Hammer got his riff (Can't touch this)...

6) Annie I'm not your daddy - King Creole and the Coconuts

Covers similar ground to "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson - the tricky question of paternity. Both great songs. We went to see King Creole and the Coconuts at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham many a long year ago and they were brilliant live, a wonderful stage show, more of a musical extravaganza than a bog standard gig. The Coconuts did exotic dance routines, Kid Creole and side kick Coati Mundi bounded about the stage and they had a really tight backing band. Loved it.

Wikipedia article says the Kid now lives in Dinnington, South Yorkshire! Not many coconuts there I would guess.

7) The One and Only - Chesney Hawkes

This came into my head and stayed there during the week when the cleaner at work, Shirley, told me her new grandson was called Chesney. I would hazard a guess that there are a number of 15 year old Chesneys in schools around the UK but not too many new babies with the same moniker.

Shirley has now got three grandchildren and she's younger than me. That fact makes me feel both middle class and old, neither of which are conditions I aspire to. Hey ho..

8) Get Back - The Beatles

Now I'm not the world's greatest Beatles fan - is it heretical to utilise the word "overrated" here?? But I love this song.

Get back Loretta
Your mother's waiting for you
Wearing her high-heel shoes
And her low-neck sweater
Get on home Loretta

Hadn't heard about the "Pakistani" stuff until I read the Wikipedia piece - old P McC always acted like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Satire allegedly.

9) Michelle Shocked - Anchorage

Leroy says hey keep on rockin' girl!

Part of the small sub-genre of popular music that I guess you could call letter songs - like road songs, story songs, list songs etc etc- just basically a letter to Michelle from an old friend who now finds herself living in Alaska with husband and two kids - you know you're in the largest state of the union when you're anchored down in Anchorage.

A bit like Scunthope but with added ice.

10) It's like that - Run DMC v Jason Nevins

This was on the TV at the gym the other day - unfortunately I'd forgotten my earphones so I had to sing along - love the video. Just the job for pounding the cross trainer – that’s a very loose use of the word "pounding" there.

“No tracks from your favourite band of all time, Love?”, I hear you ask (well not very many of you to be frank). With a few notable exceptions, they’re not the “catchy” sort of track that you find yourself humming when you’re cleaning the bathroom. Also they’re not just in my ears, they’re in my brain, heart and possibly also my DNA – like Blackpool rock, cut me open and you’ll find them written right through me.


Thanks Tina. Diversity is the spice of life and all that, so King Creole and the Coconuts are just fine with me, and you definitely can't go wrong with a spot of Run DMC. I'm not sure there was any need to plant "One Night in Bangkok" into my head, but I suppose that's one of the hazrds of running a slot like this, isn't it?

Speaking of which, I'm still looking for volunteers, so if you fancy having your moment in the sun as a Guest Editor here, then just let me know via the email address in my profile...

More here next week.

[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, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Over and over and over and over and over...

Shuffleathon update

It's been something of a long time coming, and I know you probably thought (hoped?) that this damn thing had gone away forever... but the shuffleathon is still going! hurray!

1. SarahY
2. MandyYreview
3. YokoY
4. AlanY
5. CharlieY
6. KaY
7. spinsY
8. bedshapedY
9. bytheseashoreY
10. Mike Y
11. AlecyaY
sort of review
12. PynchonY
13. Ben Y
14. Flash Y
15. Michael Y
16. Lord BargainY
17. TinaY
18. DelY
19. Mark Y
20. Graham Y
21. Stef
22. AdemYreview
23. ThreelightY
24. Jenni Y
25. Leah Y
26. Pete Y
27. Statue JohnY
28. MonogodoY
29. Him Y
30. Me!
31. TheCatGirlSpeaks (virtually)
Ymy review
her review

So Jenni has been the lucky recipient of my CDs, and a review is forthcoming. This means that we're getting ever closer to that happy day when I get to spend a wonderful couple of hours creating a detailed and fantastically meaningful spreadsheet to try and discover if there's some kind of pattern in our song choices*.


Something to look forward to, eh?

* technically I suppose I don't have to do this, but with my deeply obsessive personality, as soon as it was suggested, obviously I was going to be doing it....


In other news, we also have a winner in the inaugural "Where's Swiss?" competition....

Where's Swiss? Here he is.....

Yes, I am that blurry shape shrouded by a baseball cap, a hoodie (hood up) and a rain coat (hood up). Amazing, eh?

It seems remarkable that only one person guessed correctly instantly picked me out from the crowd, but there you go. Well done Alex! That "Team IS" t-shirt (unworn, size = large) is yours if you want it. Well, you could use it as a duster or something....?

I also reckon that Bedshaped should be rewarded for his magnificent guess. What would you say to a "Team IS" mug? Yes?

And I'm awarding Yoko a prize too: a "Team IS" travel alarm clock (seriously). Just because.

Email me to claim your prizes, people....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

And he don't even have to say 'owt...

This morning, as I always do, I stopped at the coffee counter on my way to my desk. Because I’m a well brought up lad, I thanked the nice lady politely as she handed over my cup of coffee. It wasn’t until I’d started to walk away that I realised what I’d said:

“Thanks very much”

Not so strange, except that I pronounced the last word as “mutch”.

Mutch? Mutch? Dear God, have I become northern?

Maybe I should explain. I was born in Northampton, grew up in Buckinghamshire and was mainly schooled in Warwickshire. All are comfortably south of the Watford Gap, the supposed dividing line between the North and South of England. My parents couldn’t get much more southern either, as my mum is from Essex and my dad is from Devon. As a result, I say “barth” not “bath”, I go “up” not “oop”, I eat my lunch (and not my “dinner”) in the middle of the day and I have my dinner (not my “tea”) after dark.

I’ve lived in Nottingham now for 9 years, and I lived in York for 2 years before that. I think I’m finally picking up the damn accent.

What d’ye mek of that, eh me dooks?

Monday, September 25, 2006

we had dreams and songs to sing....

Woosie might have been stretching it a bit when he said that it was the greatest week in history, but I'll be blowed if the Ryder Cup isn't the single best sporting event in the world. I was at the Belfry in 2002 and thought that was the pretty good, but this week at the K Club in Ireland has completely blown it out of the water.

It was *brilliant*.

What else can I say? I was there for four days, from the second practice day on Thursday all the way through to the singles matches on Sunday, and it was just magical. I was very, very lucky to be there.

We stood in a number of places throughout the week - the first tee, the first green, the third, the fourth, the sixth, the eighth.... but the one place that we kept heading back to was the green at the sixteenth. This is the K Club's signature hole; a par 5 dog-leg that finishes on an island green. It's a difficult hole to play, and players have to make a crucial decision: do they go for the green in two and risk a watery end in the hope of a chance at an eagle three, or do they lay up and play for a birdie at best? That risk/reward decision makes it an interesting place to watch golf, but what makes it perfect is the huge scoreboard and a big screen showing action from around the course. There's a huge grandstand there, but we always chose to stand at the front alongside the river Liffey. From there you not only get a brilliant view of the hole, but you also stand right alongside the path the players and their VIP supporters have to take as they walk to the green. At various times as I stood there, as well as the players, I was within touching distance of the likes of George Bush Sr, Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton. None of that mattered. I was also there when Darren Clarke finished his match against Zach Johnson on Sunday. The Ryder Cup had already been won and the scorecard was awash with the blue of Europe, but this was the place to be. Darren Clarke's wife died six weeks ago after a long battle with breast cancer. It was amazing that he was here at all, nevermind that he was able to play such sensational golf. It was apparently Heather's final wish that he play in this match and that he did himself justice, and I watched him play the first hole of his opening fourballs game with Lee Westwood on Friday morning, and not only did he hold himself together, but he boomed an enormous 320 yard drive down the fairway and promptly won the hole. At the sixteenth, with his work finally done, Clarke finally let go and broke down into tears and collapsed into the arms of his caddy. It seemed as though all of the other European and American players who had finished their games were there, and all of them took turns to embrace the sobbing Irishman, cheered on by an amazing crowd of about 20,000 people. It was an incredible moment and I'm sure there was not a dry eye in the house. I know I was in tears and I'll never forget it.

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say that I had a fantastic time. It was hard work (up at around 5am for four days and then on my feet all day) and the weather was a little variable.... but what an incredible way to spend a few days.

I even quite enjoyed the opening and closing ceremonies... especially that bit where they attempted to interpret the illuminations in the Book of Kells through the medium of dance.... inspired!

I'll leave you with a quick game of "Where's Swiss?"

Above you will see Colin Montgomerie teeing off his singles match against David Toms on Sunday. Somewhere in the background, I am sat in the grandstand. But where? Can you find me?

Guesses below. The winner (or maybe just the funniest guess) will receive the t-shirt I got given at the launch of our new IT organisation at work the other week. What about that, eh? It's pretty difficult.... but what a prize!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

in dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty...


Look, I can't stop long as I've got to go and catch a plane to Dublin (the last remnants of Hurricane Gregory permitting). The plan from there is to take in one practice day and all three match days of the Ryder Cup at the K Club.

I'll tell you all about that when I get back next week. I've also just spent a couple of days away from my comfortable desk in the office and have been out working in store, so I'll probably tell you all about that as well.

I bet you can't wait, eh?

You lucky, lucky people.


One thought before I go -- I watched a daddy-longlegs buzzing around the living room for a few hours the other night. It wasn't particularly annoying, so I just left it alone. The next morning it was dead. This got me thinking: I don't know how long they live, but let's say for the sake of argument that they're like mayfly and they only live for a single day. That means that this poor sod spent about 6 hours of his life -- a whole 25% -- banging fruitlessly against the walls of my living room. If you assume that human life-expectancy is about 80 years, then that's the equivalent of a 20 year stretch.

Knowing this, do I now have a moral obligation to try to set as many of these things free as I can? Surely nothing deserves that kind of a fate, does it? The same thing also applies to moths, although on reflection I reckon that flies and wasps should do the time.




Friday, September 15, 2006

Deep inside of me I can feel it overflowing ....

Evening all.

Before I start, let me just get this announcement from Yoko out of the way:

A chap on LJ has come up with a most unusual fundraising plan to contribute to the Avon Breast Cancer campaign.

It involves some people uploading photos of their top front lady parts, for which the charity will receive sponsored pledges by others to view, up to a maximum of 100 sets of knockers. Even though I am horrifically shy, my cousin has recently undergone partial mastectomy and radio and chemotherapy for breast cancer, so I have decided to provide a cleavage shot myself. (I know - I must have temporarily gone insane, but the cause persuaded me to do it).

If you or any of your blog readers feel like contributing in any way, please tell them to visit here where all is explained.

YOU MUST PLACE YOUR PLEDGES BY 5.00PM US PACIFIC TIME TODAY (Friday - that's 1.00AM SATURDAY MORNING TO UK PEOPLE) as the poll will then close and the chance to pledge / view will be lost.

Got it? Go pledge, if only for purely voyeuristic reasons....

Ok. Back to this evening's other business....

This week's guest editor is something of a constant (and very welcome) presence around this neck of the woods. This might possibly be because he lives about 20 metres from my front door and I can wave to him from my kitchen window... but it's also because he's a very dear friend of mine.

Yes, ladies and gentleworms, without further ado (he's got 80s discos to attend, you know), it is my very great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #41 - Lord Bargain rides again

Well, it’s the return of the Guest Earworms slot. More out of reasons of proximity and ST’s failure to ask anyone else in time, I have the dubious pleasure of entertaining you with the musical contents of my head from the last seven days [ST's note - Now then, play fair.... you were actually due to do this two weeks ago, but failed to submit your homework on time] . Bear in mind, please, that a two year old has been in my company for ten days now. I’m just sayin’.

It’s not a pretty selection. Who guessed?

10. Infernal - From Paris To Berlin

Tom sits opposite me. God love him, he’s a nice fella and works hard, but today for no reason whatsoever he has been singing “From Paris To Berlin And Every Disco I Get In” on a regular basis. No-one wants that on a Friday morning, do they?

9. The Theme Music To Stuart Little

Perhaps I should explain: Maddie and I had watched Stuart Little and enjoyed it very much. The disc then went back to the main menu. It sat there for ages whilst we finished our tea, and I could even hear it when I took her upstairs to bed. It’s a bit like when you leave Sky on the TV guide and, after a while you kind of get used to the repetition of it, however annoying the music otherwise is. The Stuart Little music is Ok, mind – an Alan Silvestri creation, if you will.

8. Muse - Starlight

The video came on whilst I was in a bar in Spain last week. I like Muse....in small doses. I can't normally tolerate a whole album's worth of that operatic screamery in one sitting, but I do seem to be able to hear the odd song of theirs and be able to forgive the falsetto warbling and wholly unnecessary overproduction for four minutes. This is a superb record - I love the keyboard riff particularly. (the video is them playing this on a aircraft carrier with lots of flares and stuff. Not to type at all, then).

7. Joyride - Roxette

No, I don't know either. I think I heard a snippet of another Roxette song on the radio and on inspection realised I had "Tourism" and "Crash, Boom, Bang!" but not "Joyride". So, 99p and a couple of days later, eBay obliged.Whether you care for the Swedish popsters or not, they make some natty pop songs. I like "Fading Like A Flower" but it's "Joyride" that's been chugging merrily through my brain this week.

6. You Needed Me - Boyzone


I was sitting at home last week catching up on four hours of TV I had taped the week before. VH1's "100 Greatest Boyband Songs". Hours of Blue, Five, Take That, a1, 911, NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys and Westlife. Clearly some people's ideas of hell, but I kinda enjoyed it.I own a fair bit of material from those bands I like, but realised that I didn't own much Boyzone. So, I downloaded a few of their singles that I liked, and this one has stuck with me. It was a #1 hit, this, you know. I love the crescendo it reaches and the "....so high that I could almost see eternity..." bit. Yeah, sue me [ST's note: don't tempt me]

5. Communication - The Cardigans

I bought Laura Michelle Kelly's album earlier this year which, whilst not everyone's thing, I quite like. It's an inoffensive bit of background female warbling and this is her most recent single and was my immediate favourite from the album. It won't trouble the Top 40 and I can't say I have actually ever heard it on the radio.I found out a couple of weeks ago that is is a cover version of a Cardigans tune from their "Long Gone Before Daylight" album, and I finally got round to downloading it this week. I've not heard much Cardigans stuff, but if it is as lush, powerful and honest as this, I might have to look seriously into getting some. It's a really good tune this - of all ten earworms this is the one I'd point you in the direction of investing 79p in. "..for twenty seven years I've been trying to believe and confide in different people I have found..."

4. Bobinogs

If you’ve not seen Bobinogs, you’ve not lived. They’re a band, the Bobinogs. The singer is called Bobin, the keyboard player is Nib and the drummer is Ogi. When they need something explained to them, they look through their Bobinoculars. If you go here and click on "music making", you can experience it in it's full earworm glory.

[Warning: Not For The Easily Earwormed]

3. I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters

I can't say I was a huge fan of the Scissor Sisters first album. I found the whole thing a bit feeble, to be honest. Then, out of the clear blue sky came this epic disco anthem. It is, let's be fair, fantastic. Not only that, but in a rather ironic way, it is the song that gets a giddy two year old out of her seat and walking like Mick Jagger across the living room floor like nothing else has since "I Believe In A Thing Called Love". No sir. No dancing today.

2. 9 To 5 – Dolly Parton

I was minding my own business doing some work earlier in the week when I overheard someone’s mobile phone ringing. Their ringtone was some sort of odd mash-up between Bouncy Knowles’ “Crazy In Love” and this stomping Dolly ditty. It’s that whole breathless opening verse – “tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen/pour myself a cup of ambition” that I couldn’t get rid of, closely followed by the bloody chorus. It was a great description of my day, though – “it’s all talkin’/and no givin’/they just use your mind/and they never give you credit”…..

1. Love Like A River - Climie Fisher

I discovered last week, much to my dismay, that Rob Fisher from Climie Fisher died of cancer in 1999. He was 39 years old. "Love Changes (Everything)" remains one of my all time favourite records, but having heard "Rise To The Occasion" on a podcast here I downloaded a few of their other tracks this week."Love Like A River" was a #22 hit in 1988, and is one of those great pieces of late 80s pop. Lots of keyboard, catchy chorus, breathless vocals. Simon Climie of course went on to write hits for popstrels such as MN8 and Louise and has latterly worked as keyboard player and producer for Eric Clapton. However, for me nothing touches his early Climie Fisher work, and this song is a great piece of catchy pop.


thanks mate. Another interesting list, albeit one that includes Boyzone. It also marks the first (and hopefully last) mention of 911 on this blog. If Spike happens to be reading this after a spot of ego-surfing on google, then please don't take this the wrong way, but would you mind fucking off?

Excellent, excellent.

I'm not here next week (the Ryder Cup is calling me), but I'll try and get something sorted out for the following week.

[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, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

happy talk....

I think I owe you all an apology. Well, some of you anyway.

It seems as though I have been guilty of a terrible breach of blogging etiquette. Apparently it is important that you leave a welcoming message to first time commentators. Blogs can be intimidating places, and it’s only manners to acknowledge someone’s first contribution to the debate.

I’m fairly sure that I have never done this.

Now I think about it, I don’t reckon that I even have a policy on commenting (and frankly, who does?). I like comments, certainly, and I’m pleased when anything I’ve written chimes with anyone enough that they are moved to share their own thoughts and observations. Surely there aren’t strings attached though, are there? Sometimes a comment will lead to a debate and sometimes it won’t. Sometimes a comment is little more than an acknowledgement, an affirmation or an expression of support and sympathy. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a hug or a virtual cooing noise. Some comments will get a reply and some comments won’t. If I haven’t got anything to add, then I won’t bother saying anything at all.

If any of you have been offended by my behaviour in my own comments box, then I apologise wholeheartedly. I’d be a little puzzled, but I’d be sorry to have upset you.

Who wrote the book on blogging etiquette exactly? I don’t know about you, but I do a fair bit of wandering around blogs. I have a set of regular reads, sure, but I also do a fair bit of “off roading” in the search for interesting people and interesting things to read. I am fascinated by the way that blogs reveal how ordinary people lead such extraordinary lives; how the apparent mundanity of everyday living can be so interesting. I get wrapped up in the lives and loves of people who I will probably never meet. Blogging is brilliant. Bloggers are brilliant.

But are there really rules? Of course not. There’s such a thing as good manners, certainly, but rules?

As I wander about the place, sometimes I’ll be moved to leave a comment. Sometimes that comment will spark a debate, often it won’t. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know if it had triggered a debate because I don’t methodically go back and check on all the comments I leave. Is that rude of me? Someone could be leaving me a perfectly lovely welcoming note to their blog and I could have buggered off back into the ether, never to return. How rude is that?

Anyway. To save me repeating myself in the future, and to try to make up for omissions in the past, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all readers – past, present AND future. It’s great to have you onboard and your contribution is valued.


[I discovered this over at Troubled Diva, so go and read more about it there. If you decide to leave a comment there, I'm sure Mike will be pleased to personally welcome you onboard....)

just a man and his will to survive....

Whilst the cat is away....

... the mouse plays Tiger Woods Golf 2005.

(and yes... your eyes are not deceiving you. I *am* that sad)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

how's about cooking somethin' up with me?

Alright. So I said that I wasn't going to, but I have.... after a lifetime of loyalty to probably the most famous of the 57 varieties*, I've only gone and tried Branston baked beans.

...and they were alright.

I like Heinz Baked Beans. BBOT is a much underrated classic. It's cheap, it's quick and easy to prepare, and it's about as wholesome a meal as you can get for less than a pound. Every time I have beans for my tea, I find myself wondering why I don't have it more often.

C. is away for the next couple of days, and as I left the office this evening in an attempt to get home before the football kicked off, I was thinking what I could get for my dinner. Speed was my main criteria: the game kicked off at 19:45, and I only had about 20 minutes to get something ready, open a beer and sit down in front of the telly. I considered a visit to the chippie or some other kind of takeaway, but I just couldn't face it. Then I thought about BBOT. Why not? I had a can of beans in the cupboard, and it would only take me a minute to prepare. Then Ben's whispering campaign in favour of Branston's kicked in: if I was going to have beans, why didn't I pop to the shop and try out the new ones? It would only take 5 minutes, and then I could see for myself if they were as delicious as my favourite Geordie Belle & Sebastian hater had been saying....

I opened the can and immediately saw that the beans looked a deeper, richer colour right out of the can. I find that the sauce in a tin of Heinz beans can sometimes go a bit grainy and glutinous if you leave it on the cooker for too long. This didn't seem to happen with the Branston beans, which is perhaps a little surprising considering I stopped to empty the washing machine and hang out all my shirts whilst the beans were boiling on the hob.

They tasted pretty good too.

But don't take my word for it. So that you can try this yourself in your own home, here's what I did:

1 tin Branston Baked Beans
4 cheese topped rolls

-> Open the tin and put the beans into a saucepan and simmer over a low heat.
-> Put two of the rolls into the toaster for a couple of minutes. Eat the other two whilst hanging out the washing.
-> smother the hot rolls with butter (or whatever that bloody stuff is, Olivio or something)
-> pour beans on top of the rolls
-> open a bottle of Leffe Brune
-> stick the telly on and watch Manchester Utd v Celtic
-> enjoy

If you don't have any fresh cheese-topped rolls, I'm sure you can make do with bread or something.

I'll spare you my thoughts on any side-effects I may experience.

* well, after Tomato Ketchup anyway.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries ....

I had a meeting with the director today. Partly it was a check-in to see how I was getting on after my transfer, but it was also partly to give me some news:

"I brought you up at the leadership team meeting last week. I put you forward as a good candidate for promotion."
"Oh yes?"
"Yes. Everyone thought it was a good idea and nobody raised any objections at all."
"The only problem is that HR tell me that TUPE law says that we have to honour your existing terms and conditions for a period of not less than six months after your transfer."
"Isn't that law there to protect me?"
"But this same law is now preventing me from getting a promotion and a pay rise?"
"Yes, that's about the size of it. We will look to promote you six months to the day from August 14th. You could use your pay rise to offset the extra cost of healthcover since the transfer"


(and yes, she seriously did say that last bit)

Just when I thought that HR couldn't find a way to piss me off more than they already have, they've gone and found a way of turning a law that's there to protect me to my disadvantage.

Brilliant. Do you think they have brainstorming sessions to come up with this shit?

I left the office today at 19:35 with a pounding head, and the knowledge that I would have to boot up my PC to do some more work as soon as I had finished my tea. What I really didn't need was to be pulled over by Site Security as I approached the main gates and to have my car searched to make sure I didn't have any office stationary (or whatever it is that they look for) hidden in my glove box.

These are the days I really live for.

Monday, September 11, 2006

open up my eager eyes...

Is it just me, or is Earl J. Hickey now drumming for The Killers?

he came dancing across the water...

Quotes of the Week

"If you kill one terrorist and one hundred civilians, are you further away from terror - or nearer?" John le Carré

"On September 11 2001, America felt its vulnerability even to threats that gather on the other side of the Earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat from any source that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. " George W. Bush

Number of victims on 11th September 2001: 2,996 (2,948 of those are confirmed as dead, but heartbreakingly 24 of those are reported dead and another 24 are simply reported as missing).

Estimated number of civilians killed by the military intervention in Iraq: 41,650 - 46,318

"I think it's clear that we are safer but not really yet safe" Condoleezza Rice

Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.Noam Chomsky

Sunday, September 10, 2006

it's a sight to behold...

Devendra Banhart @ The Marcus Garvey Ballroom, 9th September 2006

Whilst I was waiting for C. to finish having her feet done yesterday afternoon, I spent a very happy half an hour at a Virgin Megastore listening post. It was right next to the heavy metal section, so it meant standing next to some rather odiferous teenagers with painted nails and Korn t-shirts, but I was listening to Rage Against The Machine, so actually that was ok. I had originally gone in there to check out the new Audioslave album, but those little 30 second snippets of Tom Morello's savage riffing just made me want to get back to basics and to listen to the real deal. They say jump you say 'how high?' etc.

I mention this simply because I spent my evening surrounded by thoughtful, bearded folkies at a concert. I saw a lot of floaty dresses and tie-dye fabrics, but I certainly didn't see many Rage t-shirts, that's for sure.

Actually, the contrast between my visit to Virgin and the gig wasn't so great. Yes, I had spent my time listening to Zack de la Rocha's furious invective, but the CDs I actually purchased were "Cole's Corner" by Richard Hawley and "Seven Swans" by Sufjan Stevens - both albums that have a lot more in common with the folk movement than Rage Against The Machine. Quiet is the new loud, and all that.

In common with the way I seem to discover many artists, I first saw Devendra Banhart when he performed on "Later... with Jools Holland". He only played one song, and it was just him and his acoustic guitar, but it was enough. I went straight out and bought "Rejoicing in the Hands" and haven't looked back since. I don't think there's anything else in my record collection quite like it. Yes, I've got lots of acoustic albums and even some that could be described a folk, but this is different. Apparently the genre is called "psych folk", so wikipedia tells me, and is "known for a peculiar, trance-like, and atmospheric sound. Its lyrics are often concerned with such subjects as the natural world, love and beauty and try to evoke a state of mind associated with the effects of psychedelic drugs"

I suppose, given that one of Banhart's songs is sung directly to a little yellow spider, once cannot rule out that last bit....

Support was provided by Vetiver, a band which Banhart is a sometime member of, and who later served as backing band to the man himself. They were okay - fairly quiet and folky as you might have expected, but suddenly cranking up towards the end of their set and doing a few much rockier songs that sounded pretty good. After a short wait, Banhart himself took the stage with an electic guitar. I'd been expecting him to play acoustically, but he actually used his Les Paul and the support of the backing band all night. He was excellent. He's an extremely prolific songwriter, and although I've got two of his last three albums, I only really recognised a couple of songs. It didn't matter though. Banhart is tall and wiry, and he comes across as something of a force of nature as he performs behind his guitar; he's a blur of snakey hips and waving hands. He's also got a very engaging line in banter with the crowd. He gave us sage lessons on dancing (apparently we only need to remember two things: number one - pan out to the universe and imagine you are looking back at yourself. You are an ant. No one cares about you dancing. Number two - imagine you are at a dance class with your mum and her friends: there's nothing to make you feel embarrassed so you can just go for it. Hmm). Twice during the gig, he also stopped what he was doing and asked if anyone in the audience wrote their own songs. He then selected someone from the crowd, pulled them up on stage, gave them his guitar and retreated to the wings to watch. The first guy was pretty good (albeit he really needs to find his own singing style and not copy Banhart's). I have a feeling he was a stooge though, as he appeared to be friends with Vetiver's guitarist. The second girl looked genuine, although perhaps she should have thought about remembering the chords to her song before she stuck her hand up.

It was a good night. As well as the original material, we had a Neil Young cover (from "zuma") and a David Crosby cover (from "If Only I Could Remember My Name"). Very different to seeing a rock gig, but none the worse for that. I think it's also the most beards I have ever seen at a concert, and I suppose it was none the worse for that either.



In other news, I'm going to be an uncle! My elder brother and his wife proudly announced this morning that they are expecting a baby in March next year. Congratulations to them both.

As you can see, the raw material is pretty good, and they both have PhDs.... so I think that kid's going to do just fine in the genetic lottery.

Plus one for the wedding in Vienna then.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I feel numb

I went to the neurologist again yesterday. (If you're not sure why, then you can start here and follow the links from there, ok?)

It's been over a year now since I first noticed the symptoms; a year since I woke up that morning, noticed the pins and needles in my right hand and just assumed that I must have slept on it funny. Apparently not. In all that time, the neurologist has resolutely never made a diagnosis - at least not one that he's shared with me. Initially I think that this was because he wanted to see if it just went away, and when it didn't, I think he was waiting for more symptoms to arise so that he could be categorically sure. The nervous system is an amazing thing - if I hadn't appreciated that before, I really do now - and I'm rapidly learning that there's a whole lot of stuff that doctors don't know about it. Why rush to a diagnosis? Why risk getting it wrong? Better to wait until it is really, really clear what the problem is. I suppose I can see where he's coming from, but it's been difficult. Something's changed: today was the first time in any of our sessions that he used the words "Multiple Sclerosis", and he used them three times in all. He wasn't making a diagnosis, but it feels like another step down that particular road.

Last time I went, he told me that there was a good chance that I would suffer another "attack". By this, he means that I will wake up one day and will find that I will have a whole new set of symptoms. I actually had a dream the other day where I had lost the use of a leg. I don't think that in my dream this was specifically due to the WT's, but the dream was about how I was trying to come to terms with this. I couldn't run, I couldn't play football, I couldn't do anything much. My life was being forced to change radically, and it hit me hard. It was a shit dream, and it's hard not to dwell on the fact that this is actually something that might happen. Yes, I know I might also get run over by a bus tomorrow, and I know I can't spend the rest of my life worrying about things that may never happen.... but it could happen and it might happen.

Actually, I haven't had another attack - I may never have another attack - but my symptoms have been getting worse. Exercise is getting harder. I'm still able to do all of the things that I used to be able to do, but they're getting more difficult and my endurance seems to be diminishing. As well as the weakness across my arms and shoulders and the pins and needles in my hands, I have now got some significant numbness down my thighs and on the soles of my feet. C. remarked to me the other day that she could tell that things were getting more difficult because she is now comfortably able to keep up with me in the pool. It's not just exercise either: I went to a party last night, and at the buffet I suddenly realised that my arm was shaking under the weight of the plate. And yes, I do wish this was because I had laden the plate down with oodles of the delicious thai food, but it wasn't.

It's starting to get on my nerves, to be honest.

And today my neurologist decided that we needed to do more than just sit and wait for something to get worse, and he's sending me to go and see another neurologist to get some tests done. He was a bit sketchy on the details, but he muttered something about a spinal tap (oops, there goes an earworm) and stuff like that. He also warned me that this new guy would be likely to start me on some drugs for MS (like beta interferon - which I think is usually administered through injection, and frankly sounds a bit scary, especially as you have to do the injecting yourself).

I'm not sure what I think about this. On the one hand, I reckon that it is a whole lot better to be doing something than to be doing nothing. On the other hand though, this is starting to sound a bit heavy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

we are the pretty, petty thieves...

Righty ho. It's been a while since I've done one of these, so you'll have to bear with me if I stuff up my introductions....

Anyways. This week I am delighted to be handing the keys of my blog over to the author of my new favourite blog. She's a compulsive shopper, Bob Hope lookalike and enthusiastic user of the old "songs for post titles" thing (is it just me, or is that a bit old hat?).... Most importantly, she's also a music lover (and Keane hater, or is that the same thing?)

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

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #40 - TheCatGirlSpeaks

10) Kennedy - The Wedding Present

Popped up on my I-Tunes in the office the other day, been pogo-ing around in my head ever since. Colleague K is less than delighted. You gotta love it.

9) America – Razorlight

This track’s nothing if not a grower, and I’m really trying hard to like the new album. It just doesn’t hit the spot though. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing them live later on in the year - hopefully they’ll play some old favourites as well as plugging the new stuff.

8) Hurt – Johnny Cash

I’m not sure how the late, great man would feel about this being used as the tune for an ad for running shoes. I suppose it could be worse, like an ad for plasters or something…

7) Is It Any Wonder – Keane

Behold the power of the earworm. For the sake of maintaining my credibility, I almost didn’t include this, but I promised ST I’d be honest. I blame Chris Moyles. At least it wasn’t the new one which seems to be about Chris de Burgh.

6) The Timewarp – The Rocky Horror Show

Since seeing the stage show last weekend, this has been playing on my internal jukebox. Suzanne Shaw was surprisingly good as Janet, in case anyone’s interested.

5) Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega

I caught a bit of her performance at the Nokia Isle of Wight Festival on E4 at the weekend and remembered just how much I love this song. All those “doo doo do do” bits are so catchy!

4) Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis

I really don't want to like the Fratellis. Billed as the next Franz Ferdinand and almost as over-hyped - the biggest thing to come from Scotland since the Bay City Rollers, apparently. But this song's fab. I can't help it.

3) Truck Drivin' Song - Weird Al Yankovic

Yep, Moyles again. An infuriatingly catchy and incredibly irritating little song about a cross-dressing lorry driver. I didn't know the title or artist and eventually had to resort to one of those "all questions answered" text services. It took them over an hour, but they came up with the goods in the end. A pound well spent.

2) Teenage Kicks - The Undertones

I don't know where this one came from, but I suspect it was a magazine article about the tender age the yoof are beginning sexual relations and then realising the consequences. Changed times from my day, I tell you - I thought boys came from another planet until I was about 15. Still do a lot of the time, actually.

1) First of the Gang to Die – Morrissey

Displaying a remarkable lack of sophistication, this song is the ringtone on my mobile phone. Earlier in the week it sprang into action during a meeting in which I was already quite clearly out of my depth. Me: Oh, sorry, I’m so sorry, how embarrassing. CEO Type Man: You could always change it.


Thanks Cat. Any list that ends with a song by Morrissey is going to be welcome around these parts. Not much chance of that next week though.... I think we're going to have Lord Bargain having another go.


[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, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions]

what's for tea, mum?

They can advertise them as much as they bloody well like, but there's not a cat in hell's chance that I will be transferring my baked bean allegiances.

And that's that.


Should somebody tell Branston?

you thought I was cheap, you were the sale of the century...

I've just been offered £40 to put an advert onto my sidebar. No, really.

I got this email today:

"I currently work at Endsleigh Insurance Services in the marketing team, and I am constantly looking at ways to divert traffic through to our websites. I was wondering if you would be willing to have a text link to one of our sites from your blog page on the side menu. This would not require any images or banners, and would be just text.

Please let me know if this would be possible, as we would be willing to pay £40 for this. "

It looks all official and everything, and comes from a kosher Endsleigh email address. I have a couple of questions for them though:

1) Have a look around. Do you really think I'm going to take that £40 off you? Really?

2) Do you seriously think that anyone will see a text-only link to your website in my sidebar and realise how they'd really been meaning to get some insurance?

Did anyone else get the email? What on earth are their selection criteria? What was it about this blog that made them think that it would help sell some insurance?

It's not quite the seven figure publishing deal I was hoping for, but it could still be life changing, so perhaps I should sleep on it before making a hasty decision.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

they call me the working man...

It was the official launch of our new IT organisation at work today. I won't talk much about the re-organisation itself because it's pretty tedious, but it is all part of the same far-sighted piece of strategic thinking that saw me moving companies last month.

Naturally, they made a whole big song and dance about it. My whole afternoon today was spent in a big conference theatre being given the whole audio-visual shooting match, followed by team working sessions to define the meaning of words like "accountability" and "consistency", to discuss how we can "raise the bar" and being asked to write down a "personal commitment" to stick on the wall. Once I had done this, I was rewarded by being given a mug, a t-shirt and an alarm clock. I then just had time to get back to my desk, get changed and take part in the rounders match and quiz that were taking place outside.

As you might have imagined, I'm generally pretty cynical about this kind of thing. To be fair though, I suppose it's better that they attempt to get everyone involved in this kind of thing rather than don't bother. Having spent the last few months fighting to make someone care about the things that were important to me, it's hard for me to swallow some of the platitudes that they spout about how they want to make it a "great place to work" and how they really "value our people"... but on the whole it was alright.

.... until I went into the marquee to get some food before the quiz started.

It was quite nice really: there was free beer, wine and soft drinks available, and some reasonably tasty looking baked potatoes and things. I joined the queue:

"Hello sir, would you like a baked potato?"
"Yes please"
"Oooh, yes please"
"And what would you like on that?"

I look around.

"I'd like some chili and some cheese please"
"I'm sorry, you can't have that"
"I'm sorry?"
"You can't have cheese and chili"

There's a pause as I look across at the bowl of chili and the big bucket of grated cheese.

"I can't have cheese and chili?"
"No sir. You can have cheese, or you can have chili"
"But I can't have cheese and chili together?"
"No sir"

Someone walks past me with cheese and chili on their potato.

"Why not?"
"Because it hasn't been costed for you to have both".

I argued the toss for another minute, but she wasn't budging, so I was forced to grab a potato with chili only and head back to the table for the quiz. It tasted like ashes without that cheese.

They spent £50,000 on this launch; they gave me a t-shirt I will never wear; they provided free beer, put up a marquee (and a completely separate smoking tent), laid on a band and handed out champagne as prizes to the winners of the quiz and the rounders tournament. But apparently they didn't think to allow for people having cheese *and* chili on their baked potato.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's that kind of a company.



A question from the quiz: which famous female character, a star of both small & large screen, was played by a male on her debut in 1943?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

what a tale my thoughts could tell...

There's a girl at work who is a little bit like C.

Obviously she's inferior to the genuine article in every respect, but there's definitely something about her that reminds me of my own fiancée. Let's call her Liz (it is her name, so we may as well). I've worked with Liz for several years, on and off. Our paths don't cross every day, but her job is in an area that I do a lot of work for, so inevitably we do run into each other on a fairly regular basis. I wouldn't say we were friends, but we are on reasonably friendly terms. We don't go and have lunch together or anything, but I'll always smile and say hello to her if I see her.

Actually, it was C. who first pointed the similarity out to me. I hadn't spotted it. Previously I had just thought of Liz as being a bit too jolly-hockeysticks for my liking. I quite like her, but frankly I find her too bossy and a bit too shrill to want to know her any better than I already do. As soon as soon as C. mentioned it though, I could see the similarities. They do have quite a lot in common: C. went to university in Durham, Liz went to university at Oxford; they're both doing quite well at work (which is sadly quite unusual for women of their age where we work); they're both quite forthright (read that as bossy if you want, but I don't think C. is bossy). They've worked together before, and they actually play football for the same team on a Monday night (where Liz defers to C as the superior player, but really, really wants to be captain in a way that C. claims she doesn't).

It's funny really. They have a lot in common, really they do, but Liz is one of those people who simply can't read me at all. I'd noticed it in meetings: Liz would quite often get the wrong end of the stick when I was talking. I didn't think much of it, but I did notice that I would often have to explain the same things several times to her before she realised where I was coming from. Often she would initially be a bit sceptical of my approach, having completely misread what I was trying to do. I thought this was frustrating, but just had it down as one of those things; I thought that perhaps she was one of those people who I couldn't ever quite connect with.

Then I spoke to C. about it and was a touch taken aback when she said had noticed exactly the same thing. Apparently they had been talking about football one night, when C. mentioned that I would be playing football on the same night at the same set of pitches. Liz found this hilarious and asked if I would be refereeing or playing gingerly in my glasses. She seemed astonished when C. told her that I had been playing 5-a-side football for years, and that on top of that, I regularly went out running and that I (used to) compete in triathlons. This just did not square with her mental image of me - she really had me down as a that geeky guy in IT. A little later on, they were comparing degrees after C. had made some remark about how all of her family had specialised in humanities subjects, with not a single scientist to be seen for generations. Liz chortled, and made some remark about how funny it was that she had ended up with a scientist like me. C. was staggered by this, and duly informed her that I don't have a scientific bone in my body - which of course I don't. Liz was even more shocked when informed that I had a Masters degree in History. Guess which subject Liz studied at university? Yup. History.

I know that we probably all do this all of the time, but I find it fascinating that she can read me so badly. To be honest, although there's quite a lot of me that takes pleasure from the fact that she doesn't know as much about me as she thought, I have to admit that here's also a part of me that is a little bit put out. I know I shouldn't care, but there's part of me that wants to know why; that wants to understand what signals I've been giving off that have led her so far down the garden path.

She mistook me for a scientist? I've never been so insulted in all my life.

Still, as C. said.... I may look like the archetypal geek, and I might be spiky, grouchy and difficult to read, but I'm basically worth persevering with.

Bless her. Many would disagree, but bless her.

Monday, September 04, 2006

to meet him eye to eye and face to face....

I know I said I probably wasn't going to talk about this much, but I had my first session with the hypnotist this evening. I really don't know what to make of it. As he had warned me last week, we didn't do much today except take me through the process and start getting my mind accustomed to the idea of being hypnotised. This meant that I put on a pair of headphones and listened to some soothing music and the voice of the hypnotist for about half-an-hour as he tried to relax me into a hypnotised state. It was nice enough, but I just can't stop stepping outside of my body, looking down on myself and calling myself a wanker. It stops me doing much dancing, and I'm rather afraid it might stop me allowing myself to be hypnotised. I'm analytical and I can't help it. All the time this guy was talking to me and whilst I'm attempting to relax, I find myself distracted by a little voice in my head trying to make up its mind if I should laugh more at this guy's "soothing" tone of voice, or the fact that I was sitting through this whole thing AND paying for the privilege.

Actually, I'm not convinced that it didn't work.

The hypnotist warned me before we started that I wouldn't go into a trance or lose control or anything like that, and I didn't.... but I did feel slightly detached from my body and heavy limbed, and he did being to prompt memories to come back to me from my past.

I'm going back next week.


In other news (and as spotted by Mark...)

Mark Spitz? Frank Zappa? Julie Christie?

You've got to be happy with that.


That bloody leak isn't fixed properly either.

but they'll never kill the thrills we've got....

Look, I know it's tempting to say that the guy just rolled the dice one too many times, but how about we resist eh? Yes, he was a bit of a clown, but behind that "fair dinkum" image was a guy who clearly loved all those animals and cared passionately about their conservation.

It's just too easy to put this down to Darwinism in action, too easy to say that he should have known better and that he should have been thinking of his family instead of dicking about with wild and potentially dangerous animals.

How about showing a bit of fucking compassion?

Look, I know this undermines my point - but it did make me laugh.

I for one was sad to hear about his death. I was a touch surprised that it was the lead story on the BBC for several hours at a time when we are fighting in several wars.... but I was saddened nonetheless.

Steve Irwin. 1962-2006. Legend.

In the light of my moving tribute to the man, is it wrong that I've been earworming the theme tune to the Gerry Anderson show "Stingray" for most of the day? (hear it here)

Is the fact that my brain has now moved onto "Marina" a sign that I'm getting over this news, or is it just a lack of respect? Is it too soon? (hear it here)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

clever rhymes, see you later....

Right. We're all done. Good work everyone!


Everyone loves a good music quiz, and I just discovered this one over on No geek is an island (via Cat).

Shall we give it a go?

Here’s how it works: I’ve set my iTunes to shuffle and written down the opening lines of the first 25 tracks to come up, excluding songs where the title is in the opening line and limiting entries to one per artist (except when a cover version comes up). All you have to do is pop into the comments and tell me the name of the song and who recorded it, and I'll keep a running tally of who's got what as we go along.


1. “You fell down of course, and then you got up of courseThe Same Boy You've Always Known - The White Stripes. Good call by Lazygal

2. “Last of the men in hats hops off the coilSwitching Off - Elbow as identified by android-fancier (who I'm delighted has resurfaced!)

3. “Hey kids, shake it loose together” (this is actually a slightly bizarre cover, but I'll accept the original artist too). The next line is "The spotlight's been hitting something that's been known to change the weather". Bennie & The Jets - Elton John as identified by Cody Bones. The version that came up on my iPod was by the Beastie Boys, of all people.

4. “Some of the things a cowboy does to make you howl out at the moon and blushBrainchild - The Auteurs as picked out by android-fancier. That Luke Haines knows his way around a lyric, eh?

5. “So he’s lying on top againGepetto - Belly as identified by (the now blogless) bytheseashore

6. “Jessie is a friend, yeahJessie's Girl - Rick Springfield as identified by Cody Bones. Yeah, to be honest I have no recollection of adding this song to my iPod. I have the whole album, apparently. I may need to look into that.

7. “Desmond has a barrow in the marketplaceob-la-di, ob-la-da - the Beatles, as identified by Cat

8. “Tonight there’s no denying, no there’s no denyingLord B's correctly picked it as Ash, but what song? Ok, it's There's A Star, as picked out by Cat.

9. “Anybody seen a knight pass this way?The Seventh Seal - Scott Walker as picked out by Cody Bones. Damn, I love this song.

10. “If you close the door, the night could last foreverAfter Hours - The Velvet Underground as identified by Mark

11. “There’s a place in the sun for anyone who has the will to chase oneLet Me Kiss You - Nancy Sinatra (from the Morrissey original, of course) as identified by Tina

12. “Don’t you think it’s funny that nothing’s what it seems when you’re not looking forwardSize of a Cow - Wonderstuff as identified by Cat

13. “Give it up, give it up. I just can’t get enough” The next line to this is the chorus, but the one after that is "Here I am with my desire, feel it burning just for you". The first bit is all whispered. The next line is "my oh my, this love divine is taking me to somewhere new" Well done, well done. More, More, More - Kylie Minogue as identified by Sarah

14. “Why do you come here?Suedehead - Morrissey as identified by Cat

15. “I got a crib full of corn and a turnin’ plow” It smacks of Johnny Cash because it *is* Johnny Cash. Country Trash, to be precise... an excellent educated guess by android-fancier

16. “I don’t want to hurt you” this one's quite tough. The next line is "No reason have I but fear" It Could Be Sweet - Portishead, an excellent spot by bedshaped.

17. “Some people might say my life is in a rutGoing Underground - The Jam as identified by Will

18. “Another turning point, a fork stuck in the roadGood Riddance (time of your life) - Green Day as identified by Cody Bones

19. “I want to trip inside your head” and next "spend the day there.... to hear the things you haven't said and see what you might see". They're a touch pompous if you ask me, but lots of people like'em. Miracle Drug - U2 as spotted by bedshaped.

20. '"So we meet again!" and I offer my hand'. Next line is "All dry and English slow, and you look at me and I understand" Cut Here - The Cure as spotted by android-fancier

21. “I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving" Still Ill - The Smiths as identified by Cat. That's a great opening line, isn't it?

22. “I found a switch, turned it onLove It When You Call - The Feeling as identified by Lord Bargain

23. “With the money from her accident she bought herself a mobile home" Levi Stubb's Tears - Billy Bragg as identified by theboywil. Could that line be any more Billy Bragg if it tried? Perhaps if it mentioned the Unions....

24. “As logic stands you couldn’t meet a man who’s from the futureAll We Have Is Now - The Flaming Lips as picked by android-fancier

25. “From Northernden to Partington it's rainManchester - The Beautiful South as inevitably picked out by Mancunian Lord B

No googling now. It's just for fun....