Monday, 30 April 2007

My Funeral Arrangements

I saw these Ghanaian coffins and have added them to my funeral requirements. I particularly enjoyed the COF019 Subaru -'a different way to speed into the after life'.

Equally pleasing was the prospect of going to heaven in a Nokia phone shaped coffin.

Whatever brand you want they can make - even blue tooth!

Other options include a saw shaped coffin for carpenters - 'take your saw into the afterlife' - or one shaped like a can of beer, for 'beer sellers'.

Or who could turn down the chance to make their final journey in their favourite shoe:

Perhaps my favourite was this though:

In death as in life - the most prestigious coffin to be buried in is that of a Mercedes Benz. It is reserved for only the most respected and the coffin Mercedes is given the same license plate as that of the owner's real one".

Sunday, 29 April 2007

The day before Ocado

Today is the day before my online supermarket delivery.

I had nothing in my fridge but needed to go for a run. I had one slice of brown bread, half a yoghurt and an onion. So for the first time in my 35 years I had yoghurt on toast.

It was unusual.

Who knows what is going to happen with the onion this evening.

Boys and sport

A report last week linked lack of sport at school to academic underachievement of boys. Well no shit sherlock. Even in my day schools were becoming incredibly concerned with ensuring no one lost in anything. There was nowhere to channel the immense energy boys have growing up. This was when I hatched a plan to put all of the books in the library in people's lockers and got suspended. This was bad as my Mum was the local Librarian and her professional status suffered.

The rise of coursework (parent work), batting left handed if you were any good at cricket, studying Jane Austen, the complete lack of any male teachers all conspired to make school feel like it was - dare I say it - run for girls.

This is not a whinge personally before you assign this to bitterness, I got straight As by competing with a girl who I imaginatively christened Cow Face Pig Face, who was so self-satisfied that she brought out the competitor in me, even for coursework.

But unless we bring sport back for at least a half day a week plus after school teams then boys will continue to regard school as farcical. And I don't really blame them.

Saturday, 28 April 2007


I am sorry to say that there has been an earthquake in Kent this morning.

At this stage it is impossible to say how much damage the quake caused in the Garden of England, but below is just one scene of devastation wrought by the disaster.

Our thoughts must be with the victims.


My thanks to Mog for pointing this one out:

1. Go to then to 'Maps' above the search bar
2. Go to 'Get directions'
3. Type New York in the 'from' box and Paris in the 'to' box
4. Click get directions
5. See number 24.
6. Do a 'LOL'

In fact I did less a 'LOL' and more a 'PMP' (pissed my pantycrackers)

Thursday, 26 April 2007


For the past 5 or so years I have been thinking about meaning. Specifically, meaning at work. In fact, I have had real trouble with it. This unhappiness meant I constantly fought depression, which ultimately led me to take the sabbatical I'm on now.

I'm finally piecing some answers together and I want to talk about this a lot more, but I thought I'd include a post which is actually a paraphrased e-mail I wrote to someone 2 years ago. It sounds jolly, but deep down I was in trouble.

It can be a starting point.

27th May 2005

Seriously, what's it all about? What are we meant to do with our lives? What is meaningful? No I mean, really. Is it this? Is this meaningful? Can't I even e-mail you now?

What then? Is sport meaningful? Possibly. But not the way I play, unfortunately. It's not religion surely? Not for me anyway, unless I get really desperate.

Work? Not management consultancy, I assure you. My last job was a ridiculous sham, for which I will feel eternal shame. The private sector may be better, but do you really want to be remembered for selling more beans?

So how about focusing on the ridiculous amount of money you earn doing it? Surely, it can't be about that though? Or can it? Is our mission simply to provide for our future children? But how much money do they need? Do they need Nike trainers and private school? But my childhood was wracked with worry over money, so there must be a balance.

But what happens if I just opt out? Will I be less happy? Won't women ignore me? That would solve the children problem. But won't it mean just giving in and not resolving these issues?

Is there a book I should be reading? I read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' already. And 'Who moved my cheese'? Now, that really was toss.

Should I devote my life to others? Won't I end up just feeling like a tit? Everyone who works for a charity says it's shit anyway.

Of course, my Grandad wouldn't talk like this. But he'd saved the world from the Nazis and had 4 daughters by my age. It's easy to be modest when you've done that. I have some swimming badges, a certificate from Crufts and a nice stereo.

Because I don't really know where to start I just procrastinate and dither like an old woman at the post office. And if I don't act soon that's exactly what I'll be. Well not exactly, but you get my point.

Bow Quarter

Oooh. The place where I live was in the Guardian yesterday which was sort of exciting. I wonder if I should feel guilty about living in a 'gated' development but then I think I have much more important things to feel guilty about so I stop.

Bow Quarter is where Bryant & May used to make matches and anyway all the girls who worked in the factory got this thing where their jaws sort of fell off from the phosphorous ('phossie jaw') and so Annie Besant led the first strike here. I like that. I live opposite the factory kitchens where all the girls came for their cheese sandwiches.

Dusty, the resident obese cat, is now outside staring at the window hungrily like the chunky feline he is.

If he were bigger, a lion say, I would be afraid. As it is, I am going to go out and tickle his chubby little cheeks.

I like that too.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Release Me

Look, I know this is off the Saab ad, but it is genuinely brilliant and I can't help having my finger on the pulse. I cant wait for the album to be 'released' in May. Do you see what I did there? Clever.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

St George's Day

Scones, or 'scowns', depending where you’re from. Home made jam to go on top. With cups of tea. Today’s FT.
Newspapers and Question Time. Life on Earth. Life on Mars.
The BBC. And ITV.
London. Liverpool. Cornwall. Norfolk.
Libraries. Monuments. Statues. Benches.
Eccentrics. Mavericks. Inventors. Authors. Risk takers. Piss takers.
Tony Benn, Martin Johnson, Maggie Thatcher, Ricky Tomlinson,
Michael Vaughan, Michael Owen, Freddie Flintoff, Mrs Flintoff.
Stevie G. Jamie C, The new Wembley.
Sebastian Coe, 2012, trendy docksides, shops in quaysides.

James Dyson, Trevor Baylis, Alan Sugar, Tim Berners Lee.
The Blitz. Some tea?
The Beatles, the Stones, Radiohead’s ‘Bones’, and You'll never walk alone.
Tom Mcrae, Brian May, The Libertines, maybe even Coldplay.
Giving up your seat, refusing to be beat, refusing to say ‘neat’, licking the bowl as a treat.
The local village shop. Warm beer from the hop. Standing on the Kop.
Quiet cobbled streets. Villages and Hamlets. Cricket on the green, support your local team, strawberries and cream.
Suburban tension, sex you never mention, anal retention.
David Brent, Stephen Fry, Chris Morris, the London Eye.
Morris dancing, worm catching, summer fayres and dodgems.
The NHS. The common good. Meritocracy replaces aristocracy.
Conquering becomes...conkering?
Embarrassment. Stiff upper lips, live and let live, getting called a ‘div’.
Getting pissed, getting hitched, going the races, forgetting names to faces – 'all right mate'!
Children with undone laces. Funny names for funny places.
Regional accents, sorry-no-it’s-my-fault-accidents. Periodic excellence.

War heroes. Standing alone. Remembrance Sunday. Pomp. Circumstance.


These are the things that make us great, still.
Happy St George’s Day, one and all.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Panda Porn

Radio 5 Live tells me that zoos have now resorted to playing Pandas films of other Pandas 'mating' in what can only be described as Panda porn.

Now, I am not a huge fan of porn. I prefer, like George Costanza, 'glamour' material like bra catalogues, or photos of accidental nudity, like when attractive women go out in their lingerie and drop their handkerchieves, and then their bras fall off. I think of it as more realistic than mere porn.

But I started to wonder about Panda porn, specifically whether it catered for female audiences by introducing a 'realistic' storyline perhaps involving Panda role play, where Male Panda blindfolds Female Panda and excites her with a succession of bamboo shoots dipped in chocolate.

Or maybe there is a situation where Female Panda is stuck in a loveless marriage with a Panda who fails to understand her, and then they employ a fit young Panda to come and clean their pool and one thing leads to another as he cools off using the garden hose. Whilst no doubt simultaneously listening and responding to the needs of the modern-day Female Panda.

BUT, it transpires that in Panda world it is the MALES who are indifferent to the females. So panda porn is probably just a succession of Female Pandas getting off with each other in barely related situations involving uniforms.

If anyone has heard anything better than Panda Porn please alert me, because essentially my life is empty.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

A story about Lithuanians in which I question your career choice

I read about a Police Officer in Torquay who has just won Lithuania's personality of the year award. Quite how this was achieved has implications for what we should all be trying to achieve at work.

PC Gary Pettengell is an ordinary Bobby on the Beat in Great Yarmouth. He was moved to work on the seafront, and there came into contact with the community's large immigrant Lithuanian population who more often than not were in trouble with the law, usually for acts of petty theft.

So far so unexceptional. It was Gary's response to this which was amazing.

It would have been so easy to think well, crime and immigrants, that's life isn't it? But Gary didn't. Instead he went to the library, got out some language tapes and taught himself some basic Lithuanian in his drive to work. He then went about trying to understand this community, eventually uncovering the other half of the story.

Lithuanians were coming here via dodgy intermediaries and through work agencies who paid them little, and took most of that away on board and lodgings. Some had not eaten for a week, and resorted to crime simply to eat. Gary was disturbed enough to begin to address these problems. Firstly, by posting information on the web about basic services, how to get an NI number, how to access medical care, how to get a bank account. He then lobbied the local Criminal Justice Board to dset up money for a Welcome to Norfolk website which now contains all this information.

Welcome to Norfolk.

This to me is amazing. There is no way I'd do this for my job, I just couldn't be arsed. And there's the indictment. If you can't imagine a situation where you could be bothered to make this sort of effort, why bother to work at all? Gary put meaning into his work by putting his life into it.

Surely, we must all strive to do the same, or risk sliding into old age with nothing to show but flatscreen TVs and buy-to-let houses.

That's why when it comes to career choices and the head v heart debate, it must be the heart that wins, every time.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

I want to take you to a Gay Bar

Come on. Come with me.

Best Comedy Characters

I have just got in, a bit pissed, and watching 50 Best Comedy Characters. It finishes some time on Wednesday I think. My top 10 would be:

1. Costanza from Seinfeld - 'the sea was angry that day my friend'
2. Kramer - 'giddyup!'
3. Larry David (Curb) - 'Beloved Cunt'
4. Newman (yes I know...) - 'because the mail never stops...'
5. David Brent (oh, you know) - 'Probably an entertainer third...'
6. Mike from Spaced - erm, just funny.
7. Joey from Friends - 'how you doin?' (Oh Come on, it's gold!).
8. Lainey (sein) - 'It shrinks?'
9. Bryan Potter (Phoenix Nights) - 'Yeah and I want to moonwalk, but life's a shithouse'.
10. Jim Royle - 'my arse!'
11. Larry Sanders - I needed 11 after all.
12. Marjorie Dawes from Fat Fighters (Little Britain) - and 12.
13. Alan Partridge from Brass Eye - 13.

HI: 8
DI: 4


I almost have too many things to say today. I spent most of the day lying in the sun, playing occasional hockey and reading the papers.

The papers are the best thing about the UK. They are the best in the world, bar none, without exception. The Guardian used to be shit but it is now without parallel. It is unblievably good, unbelievable value, brilliantly written, brave, funny, interesting. I would pay £5 for it, easily. Same with The Times.

We don't know how lucky we are either. Try living in Australia for a while and wait for a well balanced or thought provoking article. It's like they're written by brain washed adolescents from the same tiny village.

So today we were talking about The Lives of Others - I want to see it, no one will come with me - the idea of a central database for scientific experiments (I am in favour, but I love a good database) the rise of moral relativism and the vaccuum it creates, and London's best restaurants. Then we talked about girls.

But for a while there it was like Radio 4.

My Love Horoscope


SCORPIO - October 24th - November 22nd
Jealousy could rear its ugly head, creating a rift between you and a lover. Instead of falling victim to this feeling, try channelling your energy towards a creative project. Painting, writing, or taking photographs can soothe your troubled heart. The subject of your work can be envy, if you like. You'll be surprised at how much more empowered you feel as a result. A relative seems to understand your black mood, and may do something special to lift your spirits.

Uncannily, and I know this might be hard to believe, but every bit of this is nonsense.

Friday, 13 April 2007

My most hated companies

1. BT - the way you treat your own customers is a shambles. Your response to problems is effectively to shove your fingers in your ears shouting 'la la la'. I hate you, you lumbering, arrogant giant. With no ears.
2. Experian - how dare you charge me for accessing my own information and then providing information that no one can understand in a format which looks like monkeys typing on bog roll? Why is it impossible to speak to a human being about what it all means? I promise never to use your 'services' ever again. Your lives are meaningless, pushing information about and making up numbers where there are gaps. You will all die lonely stinking of piss.
3. Last Minute - you tawdry sham. I booked through you and you cocked up. I had to sort the mess out myself whilst on holiday in New York. You refused to acknowledge your mistake. I will lobby against you for the rest of my life to everyone I know, just like I promised you I would in my letter which you said you never received.
4. Sainsburys - I loved you once. But you betrayed me with the internet shopping didn't you? Why didn't you apologise when all my things were broken and you were late? So I'll never shop with you again. Taste the difference.

Gosh. That really does feel better!

Owen Hargreaves

From the BBC website:

"Hargreaves would compliment the squad, but do we want to spend £20m on a squad player? " - RT

I suppose that depends on how good the compliments are.

You look nice today.

The Mark of Cain

I met Man who hates America on the same day I watched Mark of Cain, on Channel 4.

Of course, it's easy to blame Bush and Blair for the mess that is Iraq. or my particular favourite, Rumsfeld. But I speak as someone who initially (and reluctantly) supported the war. I believed Blair in that toppling Saddam was preferable to sitting by and watching. I believed in the threat from Al Qaeda too, and that it had to be addressed after 9/11. I did not believe it was about oil.

I believe that America and Britain have a moral responsibility to act as forces for good in the world and I believe that it's too easy to stand by and criticise and do nothing whilst genocide takes place. I still do, in fact.

I believe that stance in itself means making difficult decisions which are themselves human, and wrong. But that is no excuse for not taking them. I see anti-war protesters as cop outs. Who isn't anti-war?

Of course, since then it has all gone terribly wrong, with the failure to secure law and order and basic services in the early days leading to the Iranian-backed insurrection that we see today. After Guantanamo, and the scandal of contract work for the reconstruction, people like Man who hates America crow that they were right all along. Well, maybe they were. But I won't be a hypocrite.

Watching the Mark of Cain tonight reminded me of the impossible situation that our services operate in. How can these young men deal with such impossible circumstances, day in day out? Is standing by and criticising the right way to proceed now? What would people have us do now we are in this situation - simply withdraw?

One thing is for sure. Seeing this mess so brilliantly depicted, even the idea of abusing Iraqi prisoners - somewhere I could safely withdraw to my own self-righteousness - made me realise that it's impossible even to judge the people who did it. It is an impossible situation. Of course, it is right to pursue and root out the senior officers, who knew it was happening. And of course it's right to condemn the practice of torture.

But condemn the young lads who did it? Not me. Not any more.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

The Impossible Dream

When I'm feeling brave about my career decision I feel like this:

You're drooling over my white jump suit, aren't you?


Easter is a funny time of year for me. I have this feeling of new beginnings and new life - the creative force - and I feel the need to sew some seeds, to create. I feel the sun on my face and the sap rises.

So off I go, with a hopeful heart and heavy wallet to make my traditional trip to a GARDEN CENTRE. Here, I defy all previous evidence and logic and invest heavily in PLANTS. I went to Growing Concerns, my local garden centre today and swooped for a whole load of things which will be dead by Tuesday because I forget to do the watering. This time I sagely bought special gel granules that soak up water and release it later, like a banana dispensing energy on a long run, or a single mother lovingly rationing out crack to her brood of smackheads lest they run out before giro day.

Last year I sat and watched, dazed and stupified, as my relationship fell apart and a tree which I really loved and cost about a million pounds slowly died in my garden, sapped of all moisture. It was a metaphor, and I failed to see it at the time.

This Easter I am off to Liverpool to see the Mumski, Step Dad, Grandparents and Australian relatives, including some amusing small cousins.

To the many millions of you who now read this blog, have a very Happy Easter and may whatever God you've gone with, bless you.

ps Good luck to the Harrisons who, though hard to believe, are in the process of creative work even more important than mine.

Monday, 2 April 2007


How the hell does Richard Dawkins explain a tapir? If it really is related to a rhino what chance conflation of faulty DNA or process of natural selection can have led to a tapir? If animals really are just survival machines for our selfish genes, what specific environment can possibly have demanded a tapir over a rhino? Is it those thrill-seeking selfish genes we hear so much about? The ones which presumably inhabit lemmings and bungee jumpers as well?

Or maybe it's the other way around. The rhino came first, all kitted out with its long horn and it charges around intimidating things until it realises there is nothing really to intimidate as it generally just eats leaves. So then evolution realises that it has completely gone over the top, the equivalent of providing a nuclear deterrent for Andorra, and hurriedly brings out a mark 2 which is far cheaper and aimed at a completely different market - the fallen banana.

Doesn't need to bother with the big thick hide and impressive horn any more, it just fits it with a really bendy nose and hopes for the best.


It's not often that I think about Tapirs, and never in my entire 2 month blogging history have I written about them, so this is long overdue.

A baby tapir has been born at Edinburgh Zoo. It is hoped that this will help the tapir community as a whole as they are an endangered species due to the destruction of their environment by naughty man and his lack of consideration. When I say 'it is hoped' what I mean is 'I hope'.

Tapirs are hoofed mammals and are related to rhinos and horses. But they don't get the same publicity do they? Like the Tapir Whisperer or Spearmint Tapirs. Unfair.

Friendly: Vasan

I read that all baby tapirs have stripes and spots. They pull food into their mouths with their flexible noses. And they love bananas.


Sunday, 1 April 2007

Self knowledge

Finally, I have some answers about who I really am:

I am Elinor Dashwood!

I am Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility. I am practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though I am tremendously sensible and allow my head to rule, Ihave a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

Take the Quiz here!

ps. thanks to Twellve for this breakthrough.

Annual Hockey Ball

To London's glamorous West End, and the annual end of season Spencer Hockey Ball. I can feel your jealousy. And what a splendid time it was. Everyone was there, from the Doc and JP skulking (with me) largely on the sidelines, Francis and Kirk, the smoothest operators in the world and Kerr, the professional Aussie. I took not one but TWO dates with me, and very well received they were too.

In a surprise move, I was voted Player of the Season. I should reassure you, my fans, that I am going to try hard not to be changed personally by this honour. So many people have won this award and let the success go to their heads, but not me. I am going to continue to give to you, my people.

I did some sort of reluctant ironic dancing, which was in stark contrast to Hendy, who sort of comes alive with loads of surprise moves when on the dance floor. Its quite a spectacle. I prefer to sort of lurk in dark corners, moving as little as possible, hands in pockets except for the occasional air guitar or microphone when the riddims get me.