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Monday, March 31, 2008

High Five!

I've just been reading the BBC News 24 website, I don't buy newspapers you see, and I couldn't help but chuckle at a piece on Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander.

When asked how she would score herself out of ten for her own job performance, our Wendy replied:

"Rising all the time, I think is the answer, 10 out of 10"

Now I've met Ms Alexander when she came to visit the Motorola factory in Bathgate where I worked, 7 years ago or so. The company had just announced that it was between Scotland and Germany to see which of it's two factories it was going to close, but most of us felt reassured by Wendy's handshakes and soundbites like:

"We'll do whatever it takes"
"This is a fight I intend to win"

I remember thinking that my future was in safe hands.
Of course, as we all know, the German factory is still going strong, and the old Motorola factory in Bathgate is now a half empty industrial estate.

Way to go Wendy. Let me hold your trumpet for you to blow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

REM Sleep

Last night I watched the new Danny Boyle film 'Walls'. Set in the near future, in a sort of Children-Of-Men style Britain, it's the story of a single-parent father, played by Robert Carlyle, and his young son. The punishment for any crime in this bleak world is life imprisonment in one of the new super prisons which seemed to encompass huge swathes of the Yorkshire moors, and after his wife is murdered in a police 'exhibition' execution, Carlyle and his son end up behind bars for stealing stale bread from a Tesco rubbish bin. All is not lost however, as the ever resourceful 'Jimmy', played by Carlyle, has a plan for escape. This film is a masterpiece, but there is one slight problem . . .

. . . it doesn't exist.

I dreamt it.

I woke up this morning convinced that The Demon and myself had had a great night at the cinema, and for the first 5 minutes I genuinely believed that we'd been there. I rarely remember my dreams so I can only assume the the illness and fever that we've both been running and that has kept us both off work for the last few days is to blame, but it was a good film anyway.

If Danny Boyle is reading this blog, unlikely as that may be, feel free to take my idea and run with it. My gift to you. A wee mention in the closing credits will do.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I was ALWAYS Bodie.

My first car was OCC 783S, a 1978 MkII Ford Capri 1.6L, a bit like the one in the pic above, and the older I get the more I have this bizarre desire to get another one. It seems crazy, and perhaps I'm going through some mid-life crisis, but I have a huge file on the pc of Capri photos, Capri contacts, breakers, restorers, cars for sale. I remember picking The Demon up in it for our first date, way back in the 80's. Mine was two tone metallic blue, dark on the bottom light on the top, with a big silver stripe along the side that said 'Capri' at the end. It had Wolfrace 'Slot Mags', whatever they were, and an interior that had a black dash, a red carpet, brown front seats, and blue rear seats. Chicks loved it.

I'm surprised I ever got any sex.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"I'm completely operational and all my circuits are functioning perfectly"

You'll all be happy to know that Service Pack 1 installed with no problems, and that the McHal 9000 is back to full health. It did take while though, God knows (or Allah, or Buddha, or Krishna, or whoever, ffs!) what else was downloaded with it.

Bricking it.

As I type this, I'm downloading Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

If you don't hear from me again, tell my family that I loved them very much.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.
It's been emotional.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I'm not a man of God, but if it means I get chocolate, then I'll happily wish a happy Easter to one and all!

Bring out the eggs!

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Don't stray from the path, lads!"

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic church up here in Scotland, has today launched a 'scathing' attack on the government's proposals to allow human/animal hybrid embryos to be created, embryos that would be destroyed after 14 days, and may well lead to cures for Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer's, on the grounds that this would lead to experiments of "Frankenstein proportions".
I can't help noticing that he is basing his belief system on one novel, and now referring to another. I can only assume that he thinks we'll be knee deep in Centaurs, Mermaids, and perhaps the odd Minotaur or two.

I have someone in my family currently dying a slow and undignified death due to a rare genetic neurological disorder called Huntington's Disease. Something which could perhaps be a thing of the past if stem cell research pays off like it might. Therefore I'm pretty much in favour of anything at all.

Island of Dr Moreau? Go for it!

I've stated my position on religion plenty of times in the past. Feel free to believe in whatever deity floats your boat, but don't try to hold me and my scientifically minded brethren back as we proudly stride off into the future, and besides, everyone loves Werewolves.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Do you know what 'Phorm' is?


Well you soon will. Phorm is a software system that will match the websites you browse with targeted online advertising, or fucking SPAM as we all know it better as. I apologise for swearing, but I'm fucking more than a little ticked off, and ANGER + KEYBOARD = PROFANITY. If you're on BT, Talk Talk, or Virgin Media, then expect to be swearing a lot more in future after it's rolled out.
This is like your postman opening all your mail, reading it, sealing it back up, posting it back through your letterbox along with more fucking junk mail that you didn't fucking want in the first place, then promising not to remember anything that he saw!

Personally, my postman is a shambling wreck of a man who I've complained about twice in the past. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know if its New Year or New York.

Arthur C. Clarke would not approve.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"My God, it's full of stars!"

Bye bye Arthur.

Arthur Charles Clarke
1917 - 2008

"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible"

Ooh, Matron! : Part Two

After jumping ship from my old Doctors practice to my new one, I popped in this morning to make an appointment:

"Hello" says I to the receptionist who is the spitting image of the lovely Coleen Nolan. "I registered with you last Wednesday and I was wondering if my medical records had come through yet?"

"Yes, they came through this morning"

"Great, can I make an appointment to see Dr Muircroft then please?"

The moment of truth. Time slows. Everything becomes like Bullet Time in The Matrix. Coleen reaches for the appointment book . . . . . I'm hanging on every syllable that pours like treacle from her perfectly formed tiny Irish lips . . . . .

"How does 9:20am tomorrow morning sound?"

Now at this point, I'm sure I said "I want to impregnate you with my lovechild, fair Coleen, and carry you off on the back of my motorbike to a land where we'll sing 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing' every day", but I think it came out something like "That's fine, I'll take it." Either way, with a bit of luck, my colon should be back to full working order in no time at all! Bring on the curry!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chalk & Cheese

Jim Jefferies.

"Who?" I hear you say.

Mr Jefferies is a fantastic Australian comic who is the exact opposite of someone like Dara O'Briain. Instead of intelligent, quick-fire humour, you get base level comedy about religion, women, sex, terrorists, rape, masturbation, etc etc, no subject is taboo. Now there's nothing wrong with that, as long as it's funny, but after seeing Jim last night, I really think he needs to practice a bit more. Jim came on, quite obviously very drunk, and the first half hour or so was fine. Lots of laughs, lots of groans, lots of glances at your friends as if to say "well I know I shouldn't be laughing at this, but you are too!", but then things went downhill. Jim was clearly so drunk that he started not only to forget which particular routine he was performing, but the punchline to the joke he was telling at the time. He was getting jokes mixed up, the sound from his mike cut out, and then, schoolboy error, he started getting into a slagging match with one of the audience. After maybe the 15th minute of this verbal trading, during which I was tempted to start playing tetris on my phone I was so bored, Jim thanked everyone, said goodnight, and announced that he'd be selling CD's at the bar. Good.

As we left, we passed the que of people waiting to go in for Jim's second show of the evening. Given that during the show I watched he managed to down a further 3 pints, I can only assume that they are feeling a bit let down this morning.

Must try harder.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pride Comes Before A Fall

Just let me clarify my position. No matter how much this device would save me from potential injury, there's NO WAY I'm wearing one. It looks fucking ridiculous. I have my image to think about.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ooh, Matron!

This is my GP, Dr Luke. It's not actually my Doctor, it's just some bloke who's image I pulled from the net, but for the purposes of this post, he's my Doctor.
Now Dr Luke has been my family GP for as long as I can remember. He was there (apparently) when my mother went into labour with my little sister, he was there when I had Scarlet Fever, he was there when I fractured my arm, he was there when I nearly died in a car crash, and recently he's been there when my dad's brain tumours were diagnosed. He's in the very earliest memory I have of my life, and every time I see him he always asks if I'm still riding "that damnable motorcycle". He's the nicest person I know, and, given that I never knew any of my grandparents, he's probably the closest thing I have to a Grandpa. I think it's fair to say that I probably love the old guy.

So today I sacked him.

Yip, sacked. The elbow. The old heave ho. Fired. The bullet. Call it what you will, but I dispensed with his services. It's something that I've been thinking about doing for some time now, but couldn't bring myself to do. Until now.
I've recently been suffering from some sort of bowel related complaint that requires me to remain no further than 20 feet or so from a toilet. We all have, I'm sure, at some point had this sort of problem. It maybe lasts a day or so, then that wonderful machine that is the human body sorts itself out, evacuates whatever upset its delicate balance in the first place, and everyone has cake and whatnot. The problem is that I've been having this torture since I returned from Norway, nearly a month ago. This has me troubled. So, as you would, I call the Doctor's surgery:

"Hello, Doctors surgery, ***** speaking, how can I help you?"

"Hello, can I make an appointment to see Dr Luke please?"

"Erm . . . the earliest I can give you is in three weeks time."

"No thanks, I think I'll just continue to shit through the eye of a needle, bye." **

This is, quite frankly, ridiculous. 3 weeks? I'm not planning being ill, I'm ill now!
I don't know what the problem is. Maybe the practice has just too many people on it's books. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, it is a business after all, but it strikes me that somewhere along the line, patient care is going to suffer. My complaint is hardly life threatening and is moderately amusing, but having to wait 3 weeks to see your GP just isn't on nowadays.

So I've jumped ship to another practice that guarantees that I'll wait no longer than 2 days for an appointment. We shall see.

** - I didn't actually say this. It would require bravery.


I'd like to thank Sky Clearbrook for 'tagging' me with the book-you-are-reading shenanigans. It goes a little something like this. Take the book you're currently reading, turn to page 123, skip the first three sentences, then write down the next five, so, as requested:

"The hind part of their body was covered in multicoloured hairs that bristled and seemed coated in thin glue. The fat little creatures undulated blindly. The clerk saw, too late, a tattered invoice attached to the back of the box, half destroyed in transit. Any invoiced package he was supposed to record as whatever was listed, and send on without opening. Shit, he thought nervously."

This is from 'Perdido Street Station' by China Mieville, which I only started reading last night, so now I know that there appears to be a nervous clerk and some sort animal involved in the story.

Ok, I nominate The Jagster and Ron-Anymity.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"You Had To Be There"

. . . is the motto that Dara O'Briain lives by. He explains this right at the start of his show, no two of which are exactly the same, and given that at least 50% of his act is improvisation, fuelled by his audience, I'd have to agree. I was lucky enough to see him at the Edinburgh Playhouse last night at the 4th show in the UK leg of his current sell-out tour.
As a comedian, Dara has all the bases covered. He's Irish, so he instantly sounds a bit funny. He's a bit fat and bald, so he instantly looks a bit funny. Then he opens his mouth, and 2 hours and 20 minutes of some of the best, most diverse, most intelligent, comedy I've ever heard fires at you, AK47 style. No heckle can faze this likeable man, indeed, audience participation is an intrinsic part of his show. A show that includes hotels, gas fitters, underwear, neighbourhood watch ninjas, you name it, it's all in there. A comedian right at the top of his game.

I've managed, so far, to see three fifths of the regular Mock The Week panel doing what they do best. Frankie Boyle, Russell Howard, and now the King, Dara O'Briain.
Funniest man in Britain?

Without question.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Get Onboard . . .

. . . my satirical gravytrain.

I already knew how to do The Running Man amazingly well, so this is just for the benefit of anyone who's late to the party.

I loved the 80's.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Gentlemen, Start Your . . . Headlights!

I've been a sceptic of tomorrow's Qatar MotoGP since it was announced last year that it would be held at night under the track's floodlights, but after just watching the live qualifying session, I have to admit that I got it completely wrong! I thought that it was simply a marketing gimmick, and that at the very least would increase the danger to the riders going from patches of lit and unlit tarmac, but, as they usually do, the Qataris have thrown a ton of money at the Losail Circuit and the end result is a lesson to places like Silverstone and Donington Park. It looked fantastic, and the floodlit track gave the bikes a totally different look. An added benefit was that almost all the riders chose to wear un-tinted visors, so you could clearly see the concentration and commitment they were giving. I'm looking forward to tomorrow evenings race, and if you're even the least bit patriotic, you'd tune in at 8 0'clock and cheer on Britain's James Toseland who starts from 2nd on the grid.


Who Loves You, And Who Do You Love!

I'd like to thank the Apprentice Of The Universe, Bright Ambassador, for sending me off on a bit of a 80's/90's tangent at the moment, mostly due to this song. Takes me straight back to The Clubhouse. The best nightclub Falkirk ever had.
It has to be said though, that it's a class video.

Do The Running Man, you know you want to.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Nostalgia (Part 2)

Well well, French and Saunders are up here in Scotland to launch the Glasgow International Comedy Festival.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

Has there, in fact, been a time, any time, in their careers when they have ever actually been funny?
Don't you dare mention 'Ab Fab' or 'The Vicar Of Dibley'! They were NEVER funny. Both series seemed to revolve around one "joke". In Absolutely Fabulous the mother behaves like the teenager, the teenager behaves like a mother. In The Vicar Of Dibley the vicar is a big fat woman who doesn't behave like a vicar should. That's it. Not really exploring the boundaries of comedy there, are we.

I got home from work last night and ended up watching a rerun of 'Morecambe & Wise' on UKSomething or other, and I laughed my tits off. Along with The Two Ronnies, they are still the benchmark for TV humour.
It used to be something that British TV excelled at. We had sitcoms coming out of our ears, and by and large, they were all funny. Terry & June, In Sickness and In Health, Only When I Laugh, and on and on, but clearly those days are long gone. Sadly.

PS - If someone mentions Ant & Dec, I will hunt you down like a dog.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

ASBO's. The Pete Townsend Method.

This is Pete Townsend, legendary guitarist with one of the great rock bands, The Who. Now Pete's had his fair share of troubles over the past few years, but no one can argue that he is an axeman of the highest calibre, so he was the first person who sprung to mind as I was prematurely woken around 8 o'clock this morning.
Let me explain.
As anyone who has had the misfortune to read my blog in the past will know, I have two gay neighbours upstairs from me. They work away from home, I work shifts, generally never the two shall meet. It's an arrangement that I feel works particularly well. They have recently purchased a new hifi, and one of them, I don't know which one, decided, yet again, to listen to 'Bleeding Love' by Leona Lewis. I'm word perfect on this song by now, and I don't even own it (for good reason).

As I work for a hifi company, there was only ever going to be one winner, and that's me.
Since around 9 o'clock, I've had our Pete doing his bit at volume levels that I just know he would approve of. This has two benefits. One, it's pissing Will & Grace off upstairs, and two, I'm loving it.

The sad thing is that he probably just thinks I'm watching a lot of CSI.
I thought all gay guys had taste?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Now there's not a lot of choice on the TV at 1 o'clock on a Tuesday morning, so while eating my roasted cheese (Canadian Cheddar of course) with Worcester sauce, I had the misfortune to stumble upon an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which, as everyone knows, is more addictive than crack. Watch more than 10 seconds of this show and it pulls you in like the Death Star's tractor beam.
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it's like Changing Rooms but with the same budget as the NHS. This week's deserving home owners were two New York firemen who had been best friends since childhood, shared a 'Friends' style apartment, and happened to lose colleagues in the twin towers thing. They get sent away for a week, a thousand people rip their house to bits, the 'makeover team' put it back together, everyone is happy. Not only that, but they got a boat, and I don't mean a dinghy, I mean a cabin cruiser type thing that must cost a years salary!
Very handy in downtown Brooklyn.

Let's meet some of the team:

Ty Pennington
Ty is the screaming front-man of the show. Rarely seen without a loud hailer. Thinks of himself as 'wacky'.

Paul DiMeo
Paul is the father figure of the team. Can turn his hand to anything. Says "work with the grain" at least once an episode.

Tracy Hutson
Tracy walks around wearing a pink toolbelt yet never uses the tools. Bursts into tears on demand.

Michael Maloney
Michael is in charge of 'glamour' and has teeth SO white that they defy all known scientific explanation. He also holds the world record for being the 'Gayest Man Who Has Ever Lived'.

Personally, I'd just be happy for someone to come round and tile my bathroom.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kids & Shite Music

I'm dying. I know that technically we all are, but I'm really dying. I have a hangover of biblical proportions right now, and not even 2 glorious litres of full sugar Irn Bru, a fry up, and Hollyoaks omnibus seem to be helping. Last night I ventured out into the bright lights of Ye Olde Falkirk Towne to help celebrate the birth of my friend's son, so, as is the norm in these situations, a pub crawl seemed the order of the day. This meant that we found ourselves in 'The Scotia Bar' where I experienced a genuine 'Ashes To Ashes' moment. It was like stepping straight into the '80's! People with style in clothing that, at best, would be called questionable, guys with less hair and more stomach than me, and women massacring some of the best of that decade's music on karaoke.
It was at this point that a woman with more peroxide than sense stepped up to sing 'Drop The Pilot' by Mandy Moore.

Mandy Moore?

Excuse me, karaoke host, there seems to be a discrepancy here.
'Drop The Pilot' is a superb song by the great Joan Armatrading, that has been bludgeoned to death by American teen popstress Moore, you can watch the video here, or Joan's original here.

At this point I had a discussion with one of my friends. It's a discussion we've had before, and I'm sure we'll have it again. It went a little something like this:

"What the fuck is your website all about?"

"It's not a website, it's a blog."


"A blog. A weblog. It's sort of like an online journal where I post thoughts, ideas, experiences, anything really. It's a place where I can share with other people, have discussions, sort of like a forum. Anyone can have their say and all opinions are valid."


"You can meet chicks and take the piss out of people."

"Ha! You're a fanny!"

I didn't have a comeback for that one.

Incidentally, worst cover version of all time? 'Don't Give Up' by Bono & Alicia Keys.