Sunday, March 26, 2006


Just like you, I know I should be a veggie at least and probably a vegan.

Leaving that aside for a minute, I bought some bacon the other day. The packet proudly announced that it contained '85% bacon'. If I complained, no doubt some twat would explain that this is what the modern consumer wants. Some things really are beyond parody. Of course when you cook it it boils in it's own injected water.

Can I boil the manufacturers in their own injected water and if not, why not? Does this mean they're doing well if I pay with my pounds worth of change which is actually 85p?

I'll have 100% bacon please you 100% twats.

PS, OK I do realise that you probably have to add some preservative or something. I'll give you 2% max.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My 'New' Music Purchases

No reason why you should be interested in this but I’m going to tell you anyway. I actually bought 3 CDs this week. I wish I was £50 a week man but I’m too poor (until the royalty cheque comes through obviously) and too tight. I also avoid ‘new’ music when I’m still filling in gaps in the 60’s and 70’s (not quite that but there is so much stuff I haven’t heard from then).

I bought:

The Band by the Band
Led Zeppelin III
The Very Best of Slade

Once in a while you hear a song that just knocks you over with its sheer brilliance and you just can’t stop playing it. Years ago ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’ by the Jam and ‘Young Savage’ by Ultravox (no, not the Midge Ure version – check out the three albums when John Foxx was the singer) did it for me and ‘Break on Through’ by the Doors – and well, thousands more.

However, this week it’s ‘How Does it Feel?’ by Slade! Sounds like the best song Paul McCartney never wrote for Abbey Road – if he’d been a bit harder. It is that good. It’s in my top 100 songs of all time. I know Noel Gallagher has said something similar. Have to admit I have this on vinyl though I hadn’t heard it for a while. ‘The Very Best of Slade’ turns out to be a COLLOSSAL album!

‘My Oh My’ should have been played by Queen at Live Aid and ‘Far Far Away’ is awesome too - Then there’s ‘Get Down and Get With It’ – and all the other ones you must’ve heard. Worth £7 even if you only love ½ a dozen tracks – and doesn’t the strutting man from Led Zep have a very silly voice?

OK, OK, compilations are evil and I should just track down every album Slade ever made but I remain unapologetic. I'm not completely mad and this will do for me thank you.

The Elasticity of the Rubber Horse

When I were a lad you could certainly get rubber animals – not actually rubber I guess but some sort of man-made rubber substitute (I wonder if they had any real rubber in them at all?) Anyway, they probably came from Hong Kong or were ‘Empire Made’. Now, there are a lot of points potentially up for discussion there but the point I’d like to make now is that they were stretchy – sort of.

Thing is that if you buy a rubber horse (or dinosaur or lizard – it’s quite a long list. I could do this but it’s a research job and it’ll cost, you understand?) these days it’s endlessly and alarmingly stretchy. You can stretch a 2 inch rubber horse to about 2 feet - I'm not joking!

Was this announced in the papers? (Not really the) cure for cancer drugs make the headlines. Well, at sometime in the eighties or nineties (or who knows when?) I missed the ‘Rubber Horse Flexibility Breakthrough’ headline. How come? Why didn’t you let me know? - We all have to cope you know. I'm disappointed in you once again. Ah well, time heals I guess.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

JP Album at Bargain Prices!

What I’d like you to do is buy the JP album. You can do this via the website or by post or from a shop - or whatever. However, I thought I’d tell you how to get a cheap one.

What happens is this. I / we (the AAZ Records marketing sales force) send out review copies to all the ‘proper’ music monthlies (you know, the ones with 8 page dad rock retrospectives – incidentally, I LOVE dad rock!) Then the scum sucker who isn’t going to review it puts it in a bag with a load of other CDs he’s not going to review and takes it down the second hand CD shop. He gets not very much for each one but he gets money for the JP CD (that he hasn’t reviewed) nonetheless.

This is the way the world works. It’s like wondering why Christian countries sell arms to third world dictators; thinking of how it should be just doesn’t get you anywhere. This is an area where for once I’m not that worked up. It’d be nice if they listened to the record (that’s reviewers by the way, I don’t suppose many third world, sorry, ‘developing world’ dictators are listening) or even decide to review it or keep it, but hey, the complete victory of Thatcherism means that in the real world you can get 50p for it down the second hand shop to spend on coke or at IKEA or whatever music journalists spend money on. Luckily, the chances of anyone making more than 50p from the JP album are quite slim (or as Loudon Wainwright III once said, the chances aren’t slim, the chances are fat…’)

Anyway….this all means you can get the JP album ‘second hand’ on Amazon starting at about £3. If you see a picture of one it says ‘promotional copy, not for resale’ which means ‘re-sell immediately’, obviously. You can also pay up to about £17 if you want. I know this because of ‘Google Alerts’ which also tells me that the album is for sale on e-bay too (apparently connected with the Wedding Present, which is another story).

So, here’s an offer for you. I’ll beat the cheapest price. Send me a cheque (made out to John Parkes) for £3 and I’ll send you the album. Oh, because it’s my album and my blog and I can do what the f*ck I want, you also have to send me proof of a donation of at least £5 to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Amnesty or a similar organisation that sticks in the craw of civilised (i.e. uncivilised) governments. Can’t say fairer than that as ‘they’ apparently say.

Friday, March 10, 2006

More Advice from the Changing / Locker Room

These non-music related entries are so much more satisfying don't you think? - Let me know.

Anyway, that locker room...

First up, an obvious one - what are you going to gain from standing on your towel when you’re still wet? This may seem obvious but you're just going to get your towel wet and dirty - is this your first time at the pool or are you nine years old? If it is, or if you are, apologies. If not, sort yourself out eh?I've previously advised against aggressive scrotal towelling as an aesthetically poor choice of drying technique. I'd also like to add from today's experience that 'legs apart, knees bent forward, thrusting motion' is surely not to be countenanced from a willy drying perspective (or during combined willy and scrotal drying which I believe was the object of the action). The force applied to willy washing should surely also be closely monitored. Now, men are programmed from an early age (at least most of us are) to avoid over aggressive willy washing, at least in public. In private anything goes of course. However, today a man was apparently lovingly stroking a new born kitten. In the shower. Except HE DIDN’T HAVE A KITTEN! (which, come to think of it could actually have been worse but we’ll leave that for now). That’s right, the sharper ones amongst you are already there – washing his bleedin’ willy like it was George Galloway in top acting mode.

So, I took the only course of action available to me - I slapped his hand away, went nose to nose and shouted at the top of my voice – ‘DON’T WASH IT LIKE THAT, IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!’ Actually, I discovered a second choice of action was available: I sashayed over hissing ‘word in your shell like’ conspiratorially and carefully explained ‘aggressive towelling, no. Stroking new born kitten, no.’ ‘Find a middle way’ I suggested politely but firmly, with a playful smack on the bell end.

Some people eh?

Psychological Victory for Militant Pedestrians

Making my way to the WSM rehearsal 'suite' in Armley, I have to cross the road at the end of Wellington Street – you know the one where just as an experiment the Highway Code has been suspended. Here the red light means ‘next 5 cars at maximum speed through the pedestrian crossing please’. I believe this suspension has been introduced at thousands of locations across the country.

As I approached, I had nearly finished a stolen apple (well, it was offered the day before, I’d said ‘no’ then but I guessed the offer was probably still open and there were 5 on the desk…moral relativism is my bag y’know…)

Anyway, the lights turned red, the green man came out and bleeped his forlorn bleep and 2 cars sped through the crossing (only two I know, must’ve been a quiet day). I launched the apple core at the second car – GOTCHA! – middle of the passenger window. I half hoped the car would skid to a halt and the driver appear for a shouting match (‘possibly more’ as the small ads say). I stole the apple from someone at work. Unbeknownst to her, she is my unwitting accomplice.

Incidentally, when I Googled militant pedestrians I got 666 suggestions! If I have time, will be mine! Apple cores, paint guns, insulting notes and loud voices at the ready people. Got to learn to fight back - and any car on the pavement will be torched by a hired (and well paid) blind (make that 'member of the partially sighted community') person with a buggy and an army surplus WWII flamethrower...'oh, my beautiful wanky car, it's just exploded!' - Learn to park moron!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Popcorn Double Feature

The cheapest popcorn at ‘myvue’ (ex Ster Century, the monopoly cinema people in Leeds) is £3.75 for a portion in a cardboard bucket big enough to get my head in. I want enough to stuff myself. Even at their prices this would cost about a quid. Now you would think that everyone in the world would have them down as rip-off shysters. You would think that all decent right thinking people would band together, hire a bus and tie their chief executive to a windmill in a gale and stuff him with popcorn until his liver could be made into foie gras, make a day of it. (I love the fact that wind farms won’t work when it gets windy by the way but that’s private enterprise for you). Be careful when you do this to make sure that the popcorn isn’t some sort of franchise though eh?

Anyway, I heard a counter argument from someone I know. She explained that when one goes on a night to the cinema one doesn’t want to skimp, one wants to enjoy oneself. After stuffing oneself, one wants to enjoy the luxury of leaving the rest in the cinema. Oddly enough, the person referred to runs out on money before payday.

Unfortunately, I think this is also why the human race always lays waste to its environment and moves on before killing itself off.

It Comes in a Van You Know

Here’s another neat waste of glossy advertising material. Put your Pizza Hut advert offering free delivery through my door (or 5 or 6 in a sheaf for preference). Tempt me with that special offer pizza with free big guzzly pop and garlic bread (that I’ve forgotten isn’t really garlic bread but a pizza with no topping) and give me the address and phone number of my ‘local branch’ a couple of miles up the road. Wait until my companion and I are really hungry. Then get the person on the other end of the phone at my ‘local branch’ to say that ‘you’re out of our area’. Light blue touch paper and prosecute me for arson (again). S’all right though, got off on a technicality.

Actually, I wrote a letter of complaint and they sent me a £5 voucher. Unfortunately, my local Pizza Hut is out of my area….

Incidentally, why is Pizza Hut full when it's twice the price of every other pizza shop and 5 times the cost of other fast food from the freezer?

Quality Advertised Goods - in Grimsby and Elsewhere

This could have been just the Grimsby Evening Telegraph. However the GET definitely used to book space in their ads section to say ‘Buy Advertised Goods’. Good old goods eh? Do you know, since that day I’ve never been able to resist goods – so long as they are advertised you understand.

…oh, and ‘Quality Carpets’ of course. Unfortunately around 50% of the time (according to a survey of whoever was in the office that afternoon at Heat magazine) they mean ‘shit quality’ carpets or ‘poor quality’ carpets. They may even mean 'average quality' or even 'good quality' but there is no such thing as a 'quality carpet', only a moron who can't speak English. If you buy one, they may use ‘logistics’ or ‘logistical solutions’. This is shite for ‘we’ve got a van and we will deliver your carpet in it’. If you're in and if they can find you.

For historical and security reasons, my house isn't on all of the A-Zs. Maybe my house is a deliberate mistake to foil the roaming mobs of swarthy and foreign looking map counterfeiters. However, this does illustrate a point. Have you ever tried giving directions to a delivery van driver (or taxi or pizza delivery firm) before they've got lost? And will they concede, when they have got lost, that actually you do know where your house is at least as well as they do - if not better?

As I constantly and consistently advise, best not to buy anything ever - unless advertised, of course.

You are my true friend Yorkshire Water - Thank you!

Got a free magazine from Yorkshire Water today – fantastic. What a great read, if only there was more of it. They’re a great company it seems and ‘Yorkshire tap water is tops’. They donate free water coolers to schools. Each school then ‘contributes £199 for installation and running costs’. That’s my favourite definition of ‘free’. By the way, please have a free album from me – then you can make an £8 contribution to the recording costs – simple. And generous, I feel. My passion for private industry is profound and deep.

Yorkshire Water won a ‘Utility of the Year’ Award in the ‘2005 Utility Industry Achievement Awards’. Only a cynic would suggest that this is an award awarded by a small group of firms to themselves. Well, what about this Yorkshire ‘can’t be arsed fixing the pipes when we can blame customers for using too much water’ Water. I’ve won the FR Records 'Songwriter of the Year' award for 8 years running and been in the top three in the AAZ Records 'Record Industry Awards' for the last 3.

I say hats off to the 'Vitreous Enamel Development Council'