Thursday 6th March 2003
It was a particularly depressing bus
ride home tonight. Unperturbed by the fracas happening downstairs
between the the Bus driver and a passenger who wanted to get on
the bus - I simply stared at my mobile phone and wondered if it
was possible to summarise my life in a text message. This I did.
And only just managed to use up all 160 characters. You can read
it by clicking here.
fought my way through the rush hour
Trying to make it home just for you
I want to make sure that your dinner
Will be waiting for you"
From "Superwoman" by Karyn White. When I first heard
this song a few years ago on the radio I almost fell off my chair
laughing. The lyrics are so cheesy - and my other half used to
turn it up really loudly every time it came on - as if to make
some sort of point with a massive grin on her face. Now, years
later - it's no laughing matter - I sing it to myself whenever
I'm depressed ....
Saturday 21st September
Tried to do some urgent work from home
today. Ended up staring at the screen for over 2 hours. Complete
mental block. Complete waste of time. Took the kids out for the
rest of the day. Felt like rediscovery. Made me realise what the
wasted time was worth.
Alas - precious time.
it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone".
by Joni Mitchell.
Sunday 1st December
This thought occured to me whilst travelling
back home on the Westbound Piccadilly. My eyes were closed - only
I wasn't sleeping - I was trying to avoid the staring eyes of
what I thought was an Indian tourist couple obviously travelling
back to Heathrow (they had two massively big suitcases and looked
like they were dressed for the early 1980s). Anyway - just sitting
there with my eyes closed got me imagining things ...
... imagining as I sat here on the
on the tube - what first impressions do foreigners have of London?
Or more, importantly, what is the first thing that strikes foreign
visitors about London? Is it the tube? Is it the roads? Is it
the tube station staff in there silly-looking uniforms and peaked
hats? Is it the tunnel you have to drive through to leave Heathrow
And then, after the long, "white-knuckle"
stretch between Hammersmith and Acton Town - it clicked: the first
most memorable thing that foreigners must notice about London,
the thing that almost everybody leaves with a lasting impression
of: it's the "Lucozade
replaces lost energy" neon sign on the side of a derelict
building on the left-hand-side of the elevated section of the
M4 as you drive towards Chiswick from Heathrow. The sign also
has a temperature readout in a dot-matrix style- next to the famous
neon graphic of Lucozade being poured out of a bottle.
As far as I am concerned - this sign
has been there forever - and it announces a most valuable and
informative message to visitors to Great Britain:
"Welcome to the place where
people are always tired - and always cold!"
go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are ".
by Billy Joel.
Sunday 5th January 2002
Yep - I bought one the other day. Everybody
who knows me - knows that I am a die-hard Sony fan - so everybody
who knows me are simply quite perplexed that I got myself an XBOX.
But all of that is a different story.
For now - it's my (albeit short) experience
with the XBOX that has really had its effect on me. No - I'll
take that back - it's not the XBOX per se - it's a game that came
in the box with the XBOX it that I'm leading to - a game called
Now - perhaps I have been missing something
over the last few years - but my only experience with "advanced"
computer games is with the original Playstation - or PSONE - and
Grand Turismo. To many - I have probably made a huge leap from
PSONE to XBOX - and that is what has probably knocked me out about
HALO - what a game!
The last time a TV screen got me sitting
on the edge of my seat and feeling like I wanted to go out a be
a hero afterwards was watching Keanu Reeves in a film called Speed
a few years ago. This time it's XBOX and HALO. I cannot describe
the effect - I can only suggest that everybody try this game on
an XBOX - it is an education in just how far computer games technology
Her hair is a mess
We all love her
To that we confess".
a really nice part of a really nice song called Halo by a band
Saturday 8th February 2003
I am livid. Absolutely livid. I've
been diverting my recent online energies to trying to get to the
bottom of the NIGHTMARE
that was my journey home a week last Thursday (30th January
IT TOOK ME 9 HOURS TO GET HOME.
Think about that for just one minute.
HERE TO HEAR MY STORY
I have emailed just about everybody
who I think are representative of the collective responsibility
of transport systems of London. I even emailed Annie
Mole - the spiritual thought leader of the London Underground
system - but apart from a couple of politically spun responses
Ken's office - I have had little back from anybody. Alas -
it seems nobody is interested.
Hey ho - perhaps most people in this
country really are like British
Airways cabin crew attendants: who don't mollycoddle you -
and speak down to you like a headteacher the moment you care to
complain - or worse still - just simply ignore you when you're
in need. I can just picture the thought in their eyes: "well
- the exercise probably did you a lot of good sir."
Anyway - there were many things about
my ordeal that night that I will never forget - but there is not
enough space in this margin to write about it - but if there was
one thing that kept me going on my 3 mile melee with a fierce
killer blizzard - it was music that I had on my brain that night
- it had to be the one that got me home with absolute gritless
determination all mixed up with the feeling of rage. A heavy rock
number with raw guitar, violent drum and climatic lyrical crescendo
on the nightrain
Ready to crash and burn
I never learn
I'm on the nightrain"
from a really motivational heavy-rock song by a visually unappealing
eighties band called Gun N' Roses.
Friday 20th September
my, oh my, have you seen the weather? The sweet September rain.
Rain on me like no other.Until I drown, until I drown".
from a song by a UK band called Prefab Sprout.
I had the above song on my brain tonight. Why? Well
- it all started on my journey home from the office. The first
leg of my journey home is Westbound Piccadilly
from Hammersmith to Alperton.
I then get the 79
bus from Alperton to home. It was at Alperton that I happened
across every bus-travelling-commuters dilemma:
"do you think I've got enough time to just pop over to those
shops to get some quick groceries before my bus arrives? Or should
I wait here because it'll arrive any minute now?"
What I needed was fresh green chillies.
There is an Asian grocer (now
becoming a rare species) around 200 metres away from the bus
stop - and occasionally I chance it if I ever need something on
the way home. Tonight it was fresh green chillies. And tonight
I didn't feel like risking it. I was just convinced that the bus
would be here "any minute now". Of course - that didn't
happen. Yep - I ended up waiting there for over half an hour before
the 79 came. (Why is it that the 83 bus comes almost every 30
seconds - and often
in threes - and the 79 bus doesn't?)
Anyway - the connection to the song was a string
of coincidences and mind-flashing imagery. It seemed to happen
all of a sudden - within a few seconds - during an inspiring moment
of an uninspiring long wait at the bus stop. It went something
* I need chillies. And chillies originated in Mexico.
* In Mexico - buses
don't arrive in threes.
* There is a state of the USA called New
* I remembered that I had been to New Mexico in 1987 (part of
my epic driving journey around the USA) and specifically: I got
a recall of a hot sunny morning driving down a desert highway
towards the New Mexico city of Alburquerque.
* There was a song from around that year which had an anthemic
chorus line which went something like "Hot Dog, Jumping Frog,
Albu-queruque" - and it was by a band called Prefab Sprout.
* Tonight it felt like it was going to rain as I stood at the
bus stop - and Prefab Sprout also had another famous-ish song
about September rains.
And that was it. That's how I got that song on my
brain tonight. Strange isn't it?
Anyway - the rest of my Friday-night journey home
was uneventful. But I did remind myself to dig out that Prefab
album from my decaying eighties cassette collection sometime ...
Wednesday 11th September
11. The day that changed the world. And I was able to catch
up with a year's worth of it tonight thanks to my trusty ol' Tivo
- the gadget that has truly changed my life. Now - there seems
to be an entire parallel universe of people like me - it's called
Community - and there are millions of us - a global, multi-faith
congregation of individuals whose lives have been changed forever
by Tivo. The strange thing is that there appears to be nobody
else in my office who has got one. I suspect that I have probably
bored my colleagues to death going on about how
good Tivo is and how it changes your life and all that, yeah,
yeah, yeah - but I can honestly say that this gadget is probably
the best lifestyle-changing gadget since the mobile phone. And
it's not because of the "pause live TV" feature either.
There are so many things about it that make this one of the best
200 pounds that I ever spent - there just isn't enough space here
to write about it. But the remote
control for it is by far the best remote control of anything
I've ever seen - a genius
Which has just reminded me - my all-time-best 200
pounds ever spent was on replacing the lead
water main pipe with a plastic one. The change to my lifestyle
was dramatic! Just seeing and feeling the pounding jet of water
coming out of the cold tap on the kitchen sink is thrilling. Being
able to fill up a tall glass of water in 2 seconds - and having
to do it ever-so-c a r e f u l l y so that the turbulence doesn't
create a vortex that floods the rest of the kitchen - this is
always an exciting moment! Being able to take a shower without
having to negotiate a suitable time with the rest of the family
and no longer having to remind them not to open any other taps
in the house - or not to flush the water etc. is just so liberating!
But most exhilerating of all is the shower. That 200 pounds has
turned the shower
into one that rivals even the best of the ones that you get in
American hotels. And finally - the removal of lead from the system
has probably made me less prone to going
Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong..".
from a song by David Bowie.
Tuesday 10th September
Spent the day in Slough
today. What a mind-numbingly boring place this is. Not the office
- no - there are usually some interesting people in the office
- it's outside that I'm referring to. And it's not that there
aren't any interesting people outside the office either - it's
the fact that there just aren't any! That's right - nobody. Nope
- not a single soul. It's as if Slough is just one gigantic car
park - the only people you see outside the office are the people
who are hurriedly walking to and from an office reception to a
car. This is a far cry from Hammersmith. At least in Ham there
are *crowds* of people crossing the road - or walking to and from
the tube station - or queuing at the sandwich bar. At least there's
the man who speaks all day into his loudhailer about how the world
is full of sinners and we should all repent (it's funny how he
only seems to come out when there is some sort of moral war going
on). And then there are the bums who hang around outside the Broadway
Shoppping Centre who are always looking for a "spare"
cigarrate or "spare" change. (Surely they mean "could
you spare a cigarette or spare some change"??).
And then there's the Broadway Shopping Centre security guards
and cleaners who walk around all day trying to look busy.
Nope. There's no such people in Slough. It's just
completely devoid of any human activity outside of those shiny
revolving doors. I know so - at lunch time I walked all the way
from the office to the petrol station on the corner of a major
junction with the town-centre and the M4 motorway - singing Eminem's
"without me" rap song out loud - and there was nobody
to hear me - nobody to think that I was some kind of wierdo. Zip.
Not a single soul. It was disgustingly quiet - obscenely quiet
only wants to discuss me
So this must mean I'm dis-gus-ting
But it's just me, I'm just obscene"
Part of an Eminem rap-song that I always remember.
Friday 1st February
Padlock still open.
chills that you spill on my back
Gives me filled with satisfaction
When we´re done
Satisfaction of what´s to come"
from "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee Lite.
Rayners Lane trains notable by the absence of their
arrivals at Ham in a pattern that is typical of journey's home
on Fridays. End of the week. Storm in the air. Wondering whether
the 79 bus from Alperton is going to be a good idea. It's a double-decker
you see. Might get blown over by a gust of 80mph wind. What would
I do then? So when it arrived I sought solace on the bottom deck
- right next to the emergency exit window. This made me feel a
flying aircraft. I've noticed they do this whenever the storms
are in session. The bright lights pierce the low-lying clouds
as these gigantic birds drop into gusts that would blow an ordinary
man of his feet.
I look up and wonder if the diet-coke
is flying everywhere up there? Is the coffee splashing onto
the video-screen smartly placed on the back of the seat in front?
This brings back a recall of that chilling half-hour before I
hit the ground at Heathrow from Belfast in 1992.
It makes me smile now. Because I'm on the ground
- and they're up there. I kissed the ground like the pope does
that day - I was that relieved. I was oblivious to the torrential
rain that was soaking me to the skin. It actually felt good. And
was my hero.
Tuesday 5th February
Heathrow for a conference. This is a disgustingly expensive
hotel. I can't believe that it doesn't even have a courtesy bus
from ANY of the Heathrow terminals shuttling to it. This is just
sheer madness. Not that I was inconvenienced by it you see - I
came in my car - but I can only feel for all those American tourists
who must be really pissed off that you have to shuttle it to T4
and then, from there, walk all the way to the hotel through what
the hotel calls "a unique covered walkway" from Terminal
4. What a joke. This is utter British crapness gone mad. I just
cannot believe that it would cost so much to operate a shuttle
bus. Especially when the room rates are over £200 per night!
I spoke my mind to the good-looking blonde who was
standing near reception doing a customer service survey. She just
failed to understand my grievance.
said the nightman
We are programed to recieve
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave."
from "Hotel California" by The Eagles
AFTER A LONG PERIOD
OF SILENCE IN MY BLOG - I FINALLY DISCOVERED SOMEONE
WHO READS IT.
SO I NOW FEEL OBLIGED
TO KEEP IT UPDATED.
Thursday 31st January
always have Paris. We didnt have it, wed lost it until
you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night."
says Rick (H Bogart) to Ilsa (I Bergman) in the final moments
Adrian's last proper day today. I say proper because,
looking back, he actually left a while ago. On the train back
way back in the summer in actual fact. When we arrived at Kings
Cross I was told that it was nothing personal.
The presentation was a moving, if not fleeting,
few moments. Biggest turnout for such a thing that I have ever
seen. Leaves me wondering whether I would, in my own time, enjoy
such an emotional sending off. It felt like the last day at Junior
school. It was 1979
- and I cried. Is that unusual?
End of an era. At least that's how he made it feel.
In some ways I will miss him. In others I will not. The fact that
it will be the elevated section of the A4 in Hammersmith
that sets us apart professionally is another reason why he won't
have really left. I'm sure Bar38
will be graced by our converged presence at some point. Will it
be coincidence or fate?
Nothing changes I suppose.
Last night's number-crunching denied me attendance
at the Genie (we're all sick of "txt"-ing book-club).
Pete walked around to my desk to say that he missed me - and handed
me a paperback of the current agenda-item: "Oranges
are not the Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterson. Now -
I haven't read any reviews of this book before - but when I opened
the book at a random page - somewhere about half-way through,
I was taken by two things:
1. The font: a type-face that I haven't seen in a book before.
2. The title of the chapter was "Exodus" - which flashes
uninspiring thoughts about this being somewhat biblical.
There is an acknowledgement on the back by Gore
Vidal: "The most interesting young writer I have read".
I am hopeful.
Wednesday 30th January
of a sudden I saw Sheriff John Brown aiming to shoot me down"
from "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley.
Return night. Dead right. For many months I have known that
it would come to this. Impending fines and all that. How will
I get myself out of this one? Well - the lucky fucker that I am
- I did it.
sounds like something cool and subversive. Tonight though, it's
a saviour: File By Internet; how on earth can a government be
so progressive? And then I reminded myself that when it comes
to money - even the "cool" is about making you part
with it. Regardless, there is a certain "coolness" about
the Inland Revenue; it's FBI - and it makes the taxman appear
did the hard work and BillPayment
did the dirty work. I'm feeling good - like I must be the most
arrogant taxpayer in the country - leaving it all to the last
possible minute and then whistling through it like a breeze. This
is probably not what the taxman intended - and this is what makes
it feel so good. Serves him right for trying to be cool.
Tuesday 29th January
Solicitor's meeting never happened.
Got summoned to see a very different kind of solicitor instead.
Long story which I won't go into ...
I notice that firms of solicitors are trying to
Picked up a small baggage padlock today from the
floor in the platform at Ham tube. I can only guess it must've
fallen from the zip or handle of a traveller's holdall. It was
in the unlocked position. Now it's in my coat pocket. I don't
have the key - and I am really tempted to snap it shut - but I
can't bring myself to doing so. Without the key the consequence
would be irreversible. And herein lies the temptation. I don't
know how long I can go around with this padlock in my pocket in
its open state. I feel like I should snap it shut - but only in
celebration of something. Anything. However, I can't think of
anything to mark the moment. I will keep it like that until the
temptation becomes too great to bear. And then - when I finally
snap it shut - I will cast it away - somewhere memorable - in
memory of something that leaves me with that "no-turning
at one-o-clock in the morning. I feel like am taking too many
risks these days. It's only in the mornings when I re-read the
emails that I sent the night before do I feel that it wasn't so
bad after all. Still - I can't help feeling guilty.
grammaw and your grammaw
Were sittin' by the bayou
My grammaw tole yo gramma
I'm gonna set you flag on fiyo
Talk about hey now, hey now
Iko iko anday
Jockomo feena andan day
from "Iko, Iko" by The Dixie Cups
Monday 28th January 2002
up! Time to die!"
says Leon to Deckard in Ridley Scott's "Bladerunner"
- just before he is about to kill him.
Sent round Which.Online's website of the week to
some friends in the office today. Boy I wish I hadn't. Should've
known that the The
Voluntary Human Extinction Movement might not go down well
with some folk who don't share my sense of humour. I took the
negative feedback quite badly. I will *never* send round URLs
by email again. I got that "wish I could just die" feeling.
And worse still - I am forbidden to say why. Banished. It's just
too sensiitve. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?
Blog today, solicitor tomorrow. Perhaps they have
something in common? They both say things you don't like for a
start. The amount of money you pay for the privelidge (did I spell
that right?) sets them quite apart though. Easyspace
are the primary benefactors of my purchases of real-estate in
the virtual world - but it seems the solicitor is the primary
benefactor of my purchases of real-estate in the real world -
and everything else besides. For the amount I have to pay in the
name of "Stamp Duty" and "Solicitors Fees"
I could host blogs for every day, of every year, in the life of
every living person or animal on the Isle
of White. Including dogs, cats and hamsters.
timber-frame is worrying me though. As is the tree with a
just outside the front. What will happen in the summer when the
leaves sprout and the flowers bloom? What would happen if there
was a fire? My mind is running action-replays of movies with itself;
fire spreading wildly - tearing down every wall on the inside.
The bough of a tree smashing its knarled ends into the kids playroom
as they both blissfully play with paints and lego. Depressingly
Smiths-esque - (I can be miserable bastard sometimes - and
The Smiths depresses me something rotten.) But I'm sure my solicitor
will put me at ease. Her name is Karin.
That's a nice name for a solicitor. With a name like that I will
probably forget the grotesque amount of money I'm paying her -
for shuffling a few bits of paper around. To be fair - she does
reply to my emails. Which is a giant leap forward for such an
ancient and backward profession.
There *is* art in noise. I am convinced
I write this with firm conviction as the tube train slows down
on the dark, dismal overground underground - somewhere between
Hammersmith and Acton Town. The tempo of the rattle of wheel on
track - reduced in much the same way as James Brown's "funky
drummer" beat - slowed by the producer's imagination
on one of the album tracks of George
Michael's "Listen Without Prejudice".
Can't remember which song. But the music is vivid. Because the
art of noise is in its association ...
The sign at the top of the crane shouts loudly:
as the train crawls slowly past Chiswick Park. "Yeah right!"
is what everyone on the train is saying - without actually saying
it of course. Because this is the tube you see: on the tube you
can say whatever you like - and whatever you think - so long as
you don't actually say it! It's an unwritten rule that everyone
observes. This is why they say that "silence is deafening".
I am now urged to re-read London
Fields by Martin Amis. Last read in 1990. Martin Amis and
George's "Listen Without Prejudice" - a fatal combination
of music, lyrics and words that had a profound effect on me at
Nicola Six: why?
Anyway - I felt real sorry for the
response I gave to Rubi today. She appealed to our ever-present
sense of charity - and I led a "no thanks" reaction
that snowballed into more "no thanks - I'm busy" from
everyone else. Not that this will bother her in the least - because
this is Rubi: the zany red-head from East Anglia - born into a
Sikh family in Brum - a true princess! Married to an Irishman
- and living life to the full. Developing web-pages and dabbling
with Flash - jumping out of aeroplanes and keeping fit by climbing
mountains in the north of England! I like Rubi. Lots. She tells
it like it is. Like a spade would call a spade. That's very West
Brom. A true Brummie
lass. An export of fine Brummi-ness to East Anglia and London.
Such is Rubi.
can tek the kid out a Brum, but yohll never tek Brum out
a the kid."