MyBlog Has Now Moved - PLEASE WAIT

The way of the blog.
Blog creation usually takes place on the tube and bus home.
Today's blog is, therefore, displayed tomorrow.

Go all the way to the end to go to the beginning ----------------------------------->

Friday 28th March 2003

Feeling nostalgic tonight. Rediscovered my U.Genie homepage - as well as my MyGenie homepage - OK not much there in either case - but it brings back memories. I'm delightfully surprised that they're still there! Not for long though - so I'm told. I speculatively tried Nigel's page as well - and sure enough - it worked - a tribute to The Doll's House - boy was he fanatical about that at the time! A few clicks later led me to Arkham - as well as a new set of pages by Nigel called Lazy Llama - with a gallery of pictures galore that also brought memories flooding back! Ah - those were the days ...

"Friday night and the lights are low.
Looking out for the place to go.
Where they play the right music
Getting in the swing
You come in to look for a king
What can I say? Is there anything that stokes up more tearful memories more than this song ...

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.

"I 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 2002

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.

"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
by Joni Mitchell.

Sunday 1st December 2002

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 airport?

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!"

"Don't 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 HALO.

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 has progressed!

"She's so pretty
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 called Texas.

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 2003).



Think about that for just one minute.


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 from Mayor 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 ...

"I'm 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 2002

"Oh 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 like this:

* 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 Mexico.
* 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 2002

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 the Tivo 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 in design!

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 mad.

"Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong..
from a song by David Bowie.

Tuesday 10th September 2002

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 ...

"everybody 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 2002

Padlock still open.

"The 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 lot better.

Low 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 the pilot was my hero.

Saturday 2nd February 2002


Didn't make to Tim's party. Real shame. I was sort of looking forward to finding out what the apartments inside the Barbican are like on the inside.

More importantly - the Martin Parr: Photographic Works 71-2000 exhibition is beckoning. His colour-saturated pictures have a strange effect. Couldn't take my eyes off one of his works displayed on a poster on the wall in a tunnel at Green Park. Must see. Must develop an opinion. £7 for a ticket though ...

"The best things in life are free
But you can tell me 'bout the birds and bees. Now gimme money
That's what I want
Images of a punky girl singing this from the late 70's. Originally by Gordy/Bradford for The Beatles.

Sunday 3rd February 2002

"De do do do, de da da da
Is all I want to say to you
by The Police.

Sorry - not much to say today.

Tuesday 5th February 2002

Hilton 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.

"Relax 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



Thursday 31st January 2002

"We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have it, we’d 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 of "Casablanca".

Adrian's last proper day today. I say proper because, looking back, he actually left a while ago. On the train back from Hatfield 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. Quite readable.
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 2002

"All of a sudden I saw Sheriff John Brown aiming to shoot me down"
from "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley.

Tonight's Tax 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.

FBI 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 cool.

TaxCalc 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 appear trendy these days.

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 back" feeling.

Tirades 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.

"My 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
Jockomo feena-hay.
from "Iko, Iko" by The Dixie Cups

Monday 28th January 2002

"Wake 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.

The timber-frame is worrying me though. As is the tree with a preservation-order 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 The 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.

later ...

There *is* art in noise. I am convinced of it!
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 the time.
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.

"Yoh can tek the kid out a Brum, but yoh’ll never tek Brum out a the kid."
says Dr.Carl Chinn