Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Mary Poppins I Ain't

Slowly but surely people have filtered back into the house after their Christmas break. It's one of the things I love most about December & the first few days of January, having the whole place to myself. Shortly after they had vacated the premises I decided to put on some rubber. Gloves that is. Everywhere got tidied up Author Style.


  • Both toilets had paper in them. Even though I only use the upstairs one, you never know if a guest will need to use the other one.
  • The throws on the sofas were put on properly, instead of stuffed down the cushions or draped on the floor.
  • The sleeping bag in the living room was put away.
  • The Leaning Tower of Crockery was put away. Or what I like to call, Kitchen Jenga.
  • Both bins were emptied, and new bags were put back in...
  • 6 month old open yoghurt was thrown away. Along with what turned out to be half the fridge.
  • Shoulder length hair was pulled out of the bath plug hole.
  • Post for people that don't live here anymore was thrown in the Recycling Bin.
  • I also purchased new cloths, scrubbing thingys, washing powder and butter (all stuff included in the kitty).


You already know where this is going, don'tcha.

I came home this evening and picked up the post off the floor (Even though all 3 other people were home at the time. And the post arrives sometime before 10am). I wheeled my bike into a lit living room. The TV was on. a sleeping bag draped over the sofa. The lone plant on the fireplace looked at me sadly, no other forms of life were to be found.  En route to the kitchen I picked up the pile of post off the shelf addressed to non-residents (that I swore I wouldn't pick up again) and tottered off down the hallway.* After I'd emptied the Recycling Bin I threw the post away.

Before washing up someone else's plates I noticed the the foundations had already been laid for a new Leaning Tower. One of the housemates came in as I was putting everything away, they stood and watched for a while and made small talk about their holiday. Then asked, "Do you know what's wrong with the downstairs toilet?". Apparently the flush had broken. The last user hadn't felt the need to fill up a bucket of water to remove the evidence, or let anyone else know. I briefly mused over the thought of anyone else actually fixing the flush. A wry smile gripped my dusty face.

With the shower in use, eating was the way forward. Picked up some pasta things with meat inside which turned out to be tasty. Read the property magazine that the delivery blokes keep putting through the letter box, even though there a damn sign on it saying No Junk Mail. After 25 minutes of waiting I decided to wash my plate, saucepan, grater & fork. A loud thump from above confirmed the lack of hot water coming out of the shower. Fuck it, nobody waits for me to get out and I only take about 5 minutes in there, I thought. Besides, you're only up there blocking the freaking plug again.

Picking up my work bag & bike gear I tottered up the stairs. Light beamed out of the little window above the bathroom door, someone else fired up the shower. For a moment I considered flushing the upstairs toilet, but fear of seeing a grey tube on the toilet roll holder made me stop.

Sitting on the corner of my bed, waiting to hear the bathroom light switch** I considered my options. Get a steel bath and some acid, or move out. And as luck would have it I received a phone call the other day with someone wanting a refurb on their bathroom! Fate, it seems, has taken control of the situation.


* I was in my cycling shoes. Heels aren't practical on bikes.
** Bathroom Morse Code. 1 lock click followed by cling-cling on the light means bathroom is empty. Cling-cling click means occupied.

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For the enjoyment of the flappy things on the side on your bonce, here's Blur & She's So High. I prefer the live version I've got from the BBC in 1990 as it's a tiny bit faster, even so it's still a great choon!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Musical Interlude

Over the last 3 weeks I've been under the cosh to get a work project finished. It has meant that I've been rocking up to Angel every single day available. Including weekends. But as with all of my own work, the sooner it gets completed the sooner I get paid and the more pennies I make. There's also the holiday to look forward to at the end of January, the one where I seek out that Golden Globe in the sky (I believe it's called the Sun). So it's worth putting in the extra effort.

As with all things in my life, it has to be accompanied by some chooons. Only, with all the extra hours, I have found myself dropping back into the 90's (and very early 00's) in order to find some inspirational and energetic beats to keep me going. Between the ages of 18 and 22 you could find me jumping around in a club a minimum of twice a week. Sometimes up to 5 nights out of 7. It also seemed like every other song was accompanied by cries of 'Oh I love this!' from the group I hung out with. At which point we'd all rush to stand next to the biggest speaker and throw our arms around. We probably thought we looked really cool but in reality we were more akin to a group of epileptics having a mass seizure under the glare of strobe lighting. Still, they were really good times.

Although I've swapped the dance floor for a step ladder, it hasn't stopped me cranking up the volume every now and again when a particular favourite has started to play. God only knows what the people across the street make of the sight of a decorator bopping around waving a paint brush in the air.

Fuck it, who cares. I'm a one man rave.

Feel free to wave your arms around & enjoy Staxx with Joy and Santos with Camels. Not literal camels, of course.




Friday, January 04, 2013

Let Me Feel Your Presents

As a wee boy, back in the day like, my absolute number 1 toy was Lego. Hours, days, weeks would be spent with those tiny plastic blocks. My first Lego experience came by a carrier bag full of random bricks picked up at a boot sale and I was hooked immediately. It's like the heroin of the toy world*. Not only could I build anything but it also went with everything! Cars? Yep, I'd need a garage. Action Man? Yep, there's always a wall to crash through. Reading? Yep, a handy book stand is always useful. But more important than all that, it also went with Star Wars figures. By the time I was 5 literally the entire planet was waiting for Return of the Jedi. A Storm Trooper went with me everywhere. And the number of secret bases that were built from odd shaped blocks was astonishing.

It became a family tradition to always get me some form of Lego at Christmas. As the years passed I progressed up the ranks of building capabilities, hitting the heady heights of Technic Lego. Pneumatic stuff, heavenly. I was about 13 when I didn't get anything over the festive period for the first time. It was like going cold turkey without any warning. It wasn't that I still played with it, by this age I'd discovered the delights of a 2nd hand ZX Spectrum 48k and was hooked on Booty, but...what was I going to do after lunch when watching Superman for the zillionth time? I had no booklet to flick through?! But. And. But...arrrggghh!!

I didn't want to seem ungrateful by mentioning by disappointment, but it just kinda slipped out. Albeit very gently. "Oh, I thought you were too old for that sort of thing now" came the explanation. I prattled on about the subliminal need for it. And so the tradition continued.

When I hit 22 something altogether magical happened. Some bright genius saw fit to combine my 2 all time favourite childhood toys and Star Wars Lego entered my life. The 5 year old that is alive and well inside me smiled from ear to ear. The outward 22 year old did likewise. That was a most excellent Christmas. Little Lego Darth Vaders and Storm Troopers in the form of key-rings and fridge magnets can still be found dotted around my house. I always kind of expect it to stop, but I think I'll be able to cope with it the second time around. I can Only Hope**.

But it wasn't to be this year. My little brother made sure of that.


Behold! A giant Lego Darth Vader alarm clock. That lights up red when you push his helmet (ahem, keep it clean kids. You know what I mean). As the wrapping paper revealed his box (I said keep it clean!), a 5 year old Author Of This awoke inside me. His eyes widened, mouth agog, before screaming at the top of his voice "I've ALWAYS wanted one of these!". The outward 30-something bloke smiled an ear to ear smile.



*It was also my first experience of Matching. I just couldn't build a mismatched house. All the blue bricks had to be together, and the yellow ones etc etc. If I didn't have enough of the right colour to make a house then it would be split down into rows of the same colour. Better to have a stripey house than some random mess. Ya get me?

**See what I did there?! Genius ;-)

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Keeping up with the old days, here's something I chucked a lot of shapes to back in 1997. Praxis feat. Kathy Brown & Turn Me Out (Turn To Sugar)



Yeeeeeahh...big box, little box, big box, stack 'em!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Technical Issues

I realised the other day that I had written over 470 blog posts across 3 different blogs. After some consideration I've decided to put them back up, with some minor editing of course.* But it seems the Blogger gremlins have got together and come up with a technical challenge for me.

If I use my phone, I can republish them to appear with the original date. Which means they appear on the blog in chronological order. All good right? Apparently not. Because I can't edit the posts properly on my phone. The Blogger app is utterly useless and if I use my browser I end up chasing the cursor around like it's a 5 year old that's stolen my keys. The result of which meaIave words that loolike th. Whicis incrednnoyin. Know what I mean?

So I thought I'd give it a bash on the desktop. Editing is obviously a success but publishing is yielding less than satisfactory results. Hitting that big orange Publish button just puts the post at the top of my blog.

The only way round that I can think of is to republish on the phone, then edit via the PC Dashboard. Which is a lot more faffing around than I think I can be bothered with. Any other suggestions would be welcome. Preferably ones that don't involve too much faff!

*minus the really shit posts, obviously.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Omnishambles


I think I've been out of the loop too long. Having looked over the blogs I read apparently it is customary to do some kind of end of year list. Or summary. I quite like lists, they're straight forward and to the point. No fluff. Although, I quite like fluff too when the occasion arises.

I think now is one of those occasions. "If you haven't got anything nice to say, say nothing at all". No idea where I heard that from, it's probably just one of those sayings. But I am leaning towards that one line in order to make a summary of 2012. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely been some cracking stuff from the last 12 months but a savage and unnecessary ending has left me with a bitter after taste to say the least.

So, looking forward. I don't do Resolutions, I can't see the point. It's like Valentines Day. Why make the effort to show you care on just that one particular day when there are 364 other days in the year? If you want to change something, why wait until the 1st of January?

My main focus, for what is left of the first day of 2013, is to remember to take the rubbish out.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

45 Degrees


I have a small obsession with Straight. It's like a magpie and shiny things...ooh, shiny! Must have the shiny thing, Precious. Every now and again, normally when presented with a task, I'll get that irresistible urge for straight. From CD's being level in their cases to immaculate paint lines at work, it's both a blessing and a curse. And it appears every Christmas when it comes to present wrapping. After much experimentation, and because I choose to embrace this particular oddity, I've decided that good quality brown paper is the way forward. Along with double sided tape*   



Even though they're all for different people, they all have to be the same. This is something I'll call Matching. Matching often walks hand in hand with Straight. I'm thinking some proper string & paper labels next year will look better than the gold. Mmm...fuelling the desire...**

This time of year also means pudding. I don't get on with pudding, but any food you can set fire to is all good.


* I think I may need help.
** Any word on that help?

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In searching for a decent cycle forum (which is proving to be a laborious task) I came across a video for an event called Haute Route. Basically consisting of amateur riders (with the odd pro/semi-pro/celebrity participants) they tackle the Alps from Geneva to Nice. Even if you're not that into cycling it's worth a watch just for the sheer determination and dedication on display. In 2013 the route takes in 866km of mountains over 7 stages under timed conditions. I think my effort will be a somewhat more leisurely affair. Maybe something to work towards in 2014 though...although I'm still not convinced about wearing lycra.



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Film Reviews.

Skyfall. Very disappointed. Disjointed story, too many holes.
The Dark Knight Rises. Predictably the worst of the trilogy.
The Hobbit. Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. Take a cushion, and maybe a book to read. I really wanted Guillermo del Toro to do this film. Pan's Labyrinth was spectacular, especially visually. It would've been fantastic to have had a completely different feel to The Hobbit, instead it's just a recreation of Lord of the Rings. Only with a LOT less story to work with. The Gollum scene is definitely worth watching though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012