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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Would You Care To Dance?

The good old awkward moment, a social nightmare that we all deal with from time to time. For me, that time was first thing this morning.
My motorbike needed a new rear tyre, so off I trot to the tyre centre at the bottom of the road with the wheel in the back of the car.
The pimpled youth who is apparently the manager has the tyre ready for me, I'd ordered it beforehand, that's how slick I am. 'Danny', as his nametag tells me, suggests I wait in the appropriately named waiting room as it'll take 10 minutes to fit the tyre and that I should help myself "to coffee, 'n that, ma man". I secretly hope he becomes the victim of a violent crime.

As I park my rear in a seat in the waiting room, as far from the other customer as possible, the silence begins, only to be broken a few moments later:

I turn and look at the man who has dared to intrude on my waiting space.
He appears to be older, slightly heavier and with less hair than me, though that must be hard to believe. "That must be his Vectra getting two new tyres that I can see through the window" thinks I.
"Yes" I say.

"Aye, I thought that was you, how you doing, mate? I've not seen you since school. How you been?" says the intruder.

"School?" I think to myself "but you must be way older than me??"
I start to wrack my early morning brains trying to figure out who the hell this charlatan is.
"You don't remember me, do you?" asks Captain Mysterious.

"Erm . . . " is the best I can come up with.

"It's me, G_____ _____!" says The Captain *

"Oh aye, I didn't recognise you, mate. Still early!"
I say, neglecting to mention that the extra weight, bad goatee beard, shiny head and couture by Mat Alan didn't help my recognition skills either.

It's at this moment that I should point out that me and Captain Mysterious here absolutely detested each other throughout high school. He was in the school football team and I didn't like football, which clearly marked me out as a 'poofter', a fact that he took great pleasure in reminding me of whenever our paths would cross. How I laughed the day that he pissed in my bag during the PE class. All in all, he was a shite of a man.

"Oh so it is! Fuck's sake, it's been years!" I say, joining in with the social pantomime that is small talk"

"That your Vectra is it?"
I venture, and on and on we go, dancing around the elephant in the room that is the fact that we hate each other.
The minutes seem like hours and eventually Danny the manager breaks the magic by announcing that The Captain's Vectra is "good to go".
Captain Mysterious heaves his bulk out of the chair, clasps me firmly by the hand, and tells me that he hopes that it's not another 21 years before we bump into each other again and that if we do we should go for a pint.
I find myself bizarrely agreeing, even though I find quiet comfort in the fact that The Cap is on his second wife after the first one saw the light and buggered off with "a prick 2 doors down".

My faith in human nature is restored.

*Name withheld because he's a wanker.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Scenes From A Happier Time #2

When I was 5 there was no greater moment in my life than a Sunday afternoon, just after Farming Outlook finished, because that meant that the greatest tv show ever was about to start! (That's not saying much with only 5 years of tv viewing under your belt!)

Space: 1999, which according to wiki only ran for two amazing years, consumed my life.
I had a fleet of model 'Eagle' spacecraft with their interchangable crew compartments (still got one of them), I had a communicator device that Blue Peter showed you how to make out of toilet rolls and plankton and I even had a rare Airfix model of the Mark IX Hawk which made a fleeting visit to Moonbase Alpha once or twice.
This show had everything. Great special effects, cheesy acting, the entire cast of The Bill/Grange Hill/Bergerac, Martin Landau, yes, Martin Fucking Landau, and it had what can only be described as The Most Kick-Ass Theme Tune EVER!

I would have happily given up my Evel Knievel stunt bike, my Crossfire AND my Ricochet Racers to spend one day as Alan Carter, Eagle pilot.

Moonbase Alpha, we mourn your passing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Too Cool 4 Skool

I updated an entry on Wikipedia today.

I'm feeling very geeky.

Transformers: Revenge Of The CGI Designer

I'll say one thing for Michael Bay, he certainly knows how to put his stamp on a film. That stamp being a plot full of more holes than a Bulgarian dual carriageway, a penchant for uber-slow motion panning shots and more computer generated imagery than the Christmas issue of Vogue magazine.

This is backed up with a cast of varying talent levels, from Shia LaBeouf on one hand, attempting to play the paradoxically naive and fragile all-action superhero, to the great John Turturro who easily pulls the star spangled rug from under young Shia's feet.
Then there's Megan Fox, a woman SO sexy that I'm pretty sure that every single member of the cinema audience, male or female, would have gleefully clubbed a baby seal to death with their own severed leg if it guaranteed a visit to her 'lady garden'. She's outrageously, spectacularly, monumentally attractive and Michael Bay makes full use of her broad range of acting abilities, she can look happy AND sad.

He's a patriotic lad, Michael Bay. The human heroes of the movie are the good ole' fighting men and women of the US of A, but he clearly supports the 'special bond' that we Brits have with our Yankee cousins by including Matthew Marsden, he of Corrie fame, as a member of the rather vaguely titled United Kingdom Special Forces helping out the Yanks, not that they need it.

You might get the impression that I had a negative reaction to this film, but you couldn't be more wrong. As a means to kill two and a half hours it's great fun. The action is huge of scale and the CGI is simply incredible. The scene where Optimus Prime makes a valiant last stand against Starscream and Megatron is utterly realistic, and therein lies the key.
You simply have to suspend all reality with this film and enjoy it for what it is - fun.
It's not going to win a Best Picture Oscar, and is probably going to be remembered more for Miss Fox's outstanding cleavage, but it's just a film. Lighten up!

Autobots, transform and rollout!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Run Fat Boy, Run!

See the bloke on the left?
That's how I imagine I look when I go for a run.

See the bloke below?
That's probably what other people see when I go for a run.

I've recently arrived at a point in my life where my own level of fitness has become an issue for me, both in a personal and potentially professional capacity, so, like many men my age, I've pulled on the trainers and started running again.
When I was a kid I ran everywhere, but I was a sprinter never a distance man, and came second at nearly every school sports day 60 metre event (Damn you Scott Patterson!), but then 'life' came along and brought beer, kebabs and Sky TV with it!

Now I don't want you to think that I need Jerry Springer and the Falkirk Fire Brigade to cut me out my house or anything like that, but I could happily lose half a stone or so and make myself feel better at the same time, all of which would help me on my beloved mountain bike.
Win/win situation then.

Well it would be if the park at the end of my road wasn't full of people doing the same thing, most of whom DO look like the couple in the top pic, sprinting around with their skin tight clothing, healthy patina of sweat and iPod nano strapped to their arm.
I, on the other hand, resemble Willem Dafoe emerging from the jungle in the scene from 'Platoon' where he takes a bullet, my face fixed in a visage of discomforture.

There's something to be said for just letting yourself go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Scenes From A Happier Time #1

As Dara O'Briain opines "Nostalgia is heroin for old people", but as I'm nearly 40 I think I'm allowed a few memories from my childhood.
I always loved The Two Ronnies, well Ronnie Barker anyway. His timing is perfect and I've always thought him one of the funniest comedic actors of all time.
Enjoy this classic slice of tv magic.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The answer to a question nobody asked.

Some of you may have heard today about a new directory enquiries service for mobile phones called Now I don't know about you, but my mobile phone number is very private, I only ever give it out to people that I know, and even then only if I want to. If you don't have my number, I don't want to speak to you. Simple.

I don't think I'm too comfortable with a company being able to contact me via my mobile without my consent, but thankfully they have to have a facility for making your number ex-directory.
The fact of the matter is that they might not even have my number on their list, but I'm not taking that chance. I sent a text containing the letter "E" to 118800 as per their opt-out policy.

Best be quick, it goes live next week.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Hajj

It hardly seems like a year has passed since that fateful drunken night when a young fresh-faced police officer caught 6 grown men jumping up and down on a trampoline in someone's front garden, but twelve months have indeed passed since the Restless Natives made their now annual pilgrimage to worship the Gods of Downhill at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round at Fort William in north western Scotland.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, conditions that were to remain for the whole days gravity-assisted sport. Like the soft southern fools that we are, we ellected to ride the ski lifts to the top of the infamous Nevis Range downhill course to watch the riders in the womens final leave the starting line. We then took the, quite frankly foolish, decision to walk the course to the finish line some 2.82 kilometers and 100 vertical metres below us. This is a lot easier than it sounds and my upper thighs are still burning 24 hours later!

Nearly 20,000 partially sober spectators had the privilege of watching Sabrina Jonnier and Greg Minnaar destroy their opposition with tremendous displays of bravery, talent and I-get-paid-for-being-off-work-with-a-broken-arm-ness.

One of the best things about the trip is the journey there and back. In my opinion the landscape around the Glencoe, Lochaber and Rannoch Moor area is without a doubt some of the most beautiful on earth and will blow your fucking mind. Take a look if you don't believe me.
So what are you waiting for?
Grab a handful of disposable income, a significant other and come and visit my beautiful wee country, spending as you go.
Just don't stay longer that 2 weeks, I'll have gone off you by then.

PS - Strathclyde traffic police officers, gentlemen one and all.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Terminator Stagnation

I always knew it was going to be an uphill struggle. We'd watched the original Terminator, then the excellent T2, we gave Rise Of The Machines a wide berth, but I was convinced that The Demon would understand the mechanics of time travel, she loved Quantum Leap after all, but as soon as we left the cinema after watching Terminator Salvation it started:

"So . . . . how could that be his own dad?"

Now as someone who has grown up on a diet of pure science fiction, the mechanics of time travel are meat and drink to me, and easily as believeable (and far more entertaining) than Hugo and Martha's torrid love afair in last weeks Home And Away that she found so gripping.

"He becomes his dad later, except it's actually before and he doesn't know that John Connor is his son, but John Connor knows he's his dad and if he doesn't send him back then he can't exist and none of this could be happening and Skynet would already have won the war before the war had started, but what he doesn't know is that if he doesn't send him back then Skynet would never have existed in the first place. Simple"

Time passes.

Anyway, on to the film itself. I enjoyed it. Christian Bale plays a predictable 2 dimensional John Connor, but that's ok, the film's not really about him anyway. The delicious Bryce Dallas Howard could be any actress really, her character gets zero development throughout the fim and is simply there to show Mr Connor's human side, but the real star of the film is Sam Worthington, a little known Australian actor who gives a fine performance as the mysterious and troubled Marcus Wright, despite him having at least three different accents throughout the film.

As you'd expect there is CGI aplenty, there's explosions, aircraft, motorbikes and guns, guns and more guns. There's strangely made-up women, there's stereotypical rapists, and there are bizarre little fires everywhere, and I mean everywhere.
I know what a desolate landscape looks like, I don't need every second bush to be burning to point it out to me. The same goes for destroyed cities and enemy strongholds, enough with the pyrotechnics already!

But . . . there's a but, and it's a pretty big one, in fact it wouldn't look out of place on Beyonce.
Terminator Salvation makes the biggest mistake that a film of it's kind can make. It fails to move the story on, to take it somewhere new, to boldly go exactly where Star Trek buggered off to.
At the end of the film your knowledge of the Terminator timeline is no different to that which you started with.
Having said all that, you have to give McG, the director, some credit. Given that his best work to date seems to be 'Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious', you'd have to consider TS a success, if for no other reason than the well done and rather convincing Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo.

He'll be back . . . probably.


Thursday, June 04, 2009


I don't know about you, but I just hate it when I just can't seem to find the kind of clothes I want to wear in high street shops. Clearly Liam Gallagher also feels my pain, that's why he's launched his own "Pretty Green" range of clothing and 'accessories'.
I suppose a career in fashion was always on the cards for the Oasis singer, given his well know pastimes of drinking, fighting and haute couture. Although I do find it rather strange that Liam says he can't find the clothes he likes in high street shops given that most football casuals seem to find their Stone Island clobber with no trouble at all.

"I'm not gonna be putting anything out unless I'd wear it"

says Liam, keeping it real as always. Who knows, in years to come we might be settling down in front of the tv on a Wednesday night to hear Liam say "Oi, dick'ead! You're fuckin' fired!"

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"I Feel The Need . . . "

When I was a kid there really only ever was one job that I wanted to do, and that was be a fighter pilot. I had airfix models coming out of my ears, I could rhyme off the stats of an A-8 Corsair II versus a Blackburn Buccaneer and at the age of eleven I carried out a project at school outlining why The Allies enjoyed air superiority over The Axis Powers during the latter half of the second world war. I remember giving my presentation with much gusto and vim and watching my classmates staring back at me like dogs that had been shown card tricks.

The career as Scotland's answer to Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell was never on the cards, but my fascination, admiration and plain lust for some of mankinds most lethal fighting aircraft has never left me. It must be a guy thing I guess.

All of which led to me being delighted to stumble accross this great blog here which has hundreds of these high quality widescreen wallpaper shots of men, mostly American it has to be said, enjoying the kind of High-G pleasures I will probably never know. "Jealous" doesn't even come close.
You, dear reader, can be my wingman anytime.