Friday, September 23, 2016

Update on celebrating the death of millions

Just a quick additional comment on the pie that Marks and Sparks created to 'celebrate the death of millions' (which they really actually did obviously...)  I missed something.  Something obvious.  That is that there are people out there working for (or interned by I suppose) 'news' websites whose job is to generate clickbait.  One of the ways of doing that is of course to trawl Twatter to find somebody saying something 'controversial' (must take them minutes sometimes) that they can put on their website as a 'controversy' - and in some cases it becomes a click-through baitey solid gold storm in a Twattery for 5 minutes and traffic increases as people check it out - and then click on adverts and buy stuff as everyone does obviously (almost as obvious as the M&S policy to celebrate mass murder...)

The celebrate mass-murder pie was of course one of these.  I mistook it for an actual debate not a 'that lad over there called you a puff'' type 'controversy' from school.  Must either pay more or less attention...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Do they know it's Christmas?

I stumbled across Christmas yesterday.  They were loading it on to the shelves in the Co-op and I nearly fell over it.  It was hot outside.  I quite like parts of Christmas but when it’s on for a third of the year it really pisses me off.  I react against it and end up hating the whole damned thing.  The staff thought it was a bit mad too.

Mind you, I saw my first set of Christmas lights, illuminated snowman and fake presents back in August advertising someone’s Christmas menu… 

I hope 3 sand a half months is enough time to buy all your stuff…Merry Christmas readers!

Pie celebrates deaths of millions

Here’s a snippet of the modern world.  The Huffington Post reports that “A woman has sparked a heated social media row, after she accused Marks & Spencer’s of creating a pie that celebrated the deaths of millions in Britain’s former colonies”.  Of course they did, Huffington, well done for summing that up so neatly and accurately.

It goes on from there in its predictable, weary twittery twattery nonsense fashion though scorn and ridicule to defence and support and ‘debate’ with surrounding and attached clickbatey nonsense.  A few people weigh in with jokes, half thought-out opinions and over-serious whatever and blah blah blah.  I know I should ‘just ignore it’ and move on, there’s nothing to see here etc.  But it annoys me that this stuff appears at all.

If only they really had produced a range of imperialist pies - ‘Sticking it to the Fuzzy- Wuzzies’ pie, a ‘Mr Gatling’s Gun teaches the Zulus table manners’ pie or similar.  This seems unlikely.  Humble apology pie seems more likely. 

No matter, move on…I’m off to invent a soft drink ‘celebrating the Holocaust’…must join Twatter…

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wakey Wakey!

I'm playing at about 2pm on the Saturday afternoon (30th).

Celebriddys Again

I've just seen the line-up of Celebrity Big Brother.  And once more I've heard of THREE of them.  How long do I have to wait for that long-awaited time when I've not heard of any of the people on this programme?  I guess this must be because they always have a couple of people who were famous(ish) some time ago.  And a bunch of people who were on the actual Big Brother a few years back.  Something like that anyway.

Sam Fox was one of them I'd heard of...Christopher Biggins is another.  And Helen Lederer...

It's darned disappointing though...

Friday, June 03, 2016

Off for a Lloyds...

I’ve been meaning to have a go at the follow-ups to the ludicrous Lloyds bank adverts – yet another of those where they show people turning from attractive children to attractive ‘older people’ via being attractive adults.  And rescuing teddies and stuff.  Lloyds is the one (I think) where a big horse gallops through the maternity ward and whatnot.  At one point the horse gallops past a couple in the street.  A (presumably) gay man is clearly proposing marriage to another (presumably) gay man.  He’s decided to do this in the street while a horse runs past.  As you do when you're pretending to be gay in an advert.  He’s gone for the whole 'ring in a box down on one knee' thing.  In the street.  Any homophobics are presumably too busy looking at the horse to cause any aggro.  Or he can’t think of a better place to do this than in the middle of the street.

Something tells me that this couple were originally going to be a heterosexual couple.  Bet your life someone at the advertising agency simple squeaked with delight at the whole instant inclusive right-on ness of making them a gay couple.  Then they squeaked even louder and treated themselves to a game of ping-pong instead of lunch when it occurred that they could make one of them black.  Should have also put one of them in a wheelchair but they clearly never thought of adding that particular egg to the advert pudding.

But then!  Then someone suggested that they go for that whole the fuckwitted British Public love a character thing.   They spend hundreds of pounds on insurance to get a meerkat toy, they really really love that opera singing insurance bloke and they’d sell their own grandmothers for one of those Brian toys.  Then they ‘like’ the Facebook page and Tweet their friends and talk to their mates about how they’ve taken these lovable characters to their hearts because they’ve clearly got nothing else going on in their lives…

So now there’s a follow up advert – the gay couple again, just them on a poster.  There’s a picture of them hugging and it says ‘he said yes’!  Dancing in the streets!  We’d all been wondering if the made up (presumably) gay character played by an actor who asked the other made up (presumably) gay character played by an actor to marry him in the middle of the street as a horse galloped past had said yes or ‘don’t do the whole hetero cliché thing on me and watch out for the homophobic thief just behind you’.

So…if you’d like to believe that the fictional characters in the advert are real in some way and that there was a proposal and ‘he said yes’, go on, knock yourself out.  If you’re lucky there’ll be a Facebook page about them which you can ‘like’.  You can Tweet your friends about them and possibly follow their progress.  Choose the wedding venue and what they’ll wear and the kind of sex you’d like them to have.

Actually, I think there can’t be more than half a dozen simpletons who care and actually this is just the advertising industry milking another doltish (or coltish in this case – boom boom!) company into thinking that even though they screwed up the economy and everyone hates them that if they make up a gay couple one of whom is black then everyone will just love them.  Unless we haven’t got every penny of our money back.

In which case we still hate them.

And look!  Get that damned banky horse out of the maternity ward!  Please don't bother to check the advert out though.  You'll need really sturdy buttocks well used to clenching.  And it'd only encourage them...

Alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus - that's £50 please mate...

The Leeds University Alumni people have been in touch again.  This time they want a donation of (at least) £50 to fill in the gap caused by the government phasing out bursaries for students from low income households.  

This is where we are folks.  Decades of moving away from public towards private, from education for civilisation’s sake to education merely to feed the economy, from tax rates sufficient to fund students to massive student loans.  There’s also this fantasy that anyone who goes (or went) to University must be somehow on the upper-middle class gravy train that still sort of exists and that they’re prepared to stump up a few quid to cover government cuts.  Perhaps we should have a raffle to fund a replacement for Trident or to fill the hole caused by those firms who don’t pay any tax?  

I don’t really blame the Alumni people – but no, sorry, I haven’t got £50 spare anyway, never mind £50 to cover the cost of moving the country’s wealth to the rich. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Leeds - in the Dock

I visited Leeds Dock this afternoon.  What a depressing place.  I don’t know how long it’s been there but it’s already showing signs of falling apart.  Compared to what it might have been the Leeds waterfront / river area is a bit rubbish.  It has the distinct look of a 2000s property boom gone wrong.  You just know they will have talked a lot about 'exciting spaces' and ‘regeneration’ – which many people have now spotted was short-hand for property speculation / expensive flats.  Cheaply built expensive flats by the looks of it.  I think all the cool young people earning a fortune in ‘digital industries’ are supposed to live in them when not out jogging to the office, eating sushi, playing ping-pong outside cafes and riding bikes with no gears to Tesco Metro.  But I think the word ‘faux’ applies to a lot of it – faux public spaces, faux community, faux cool, faux bleeding edge…For people who have ‘lifestyles’ but oddly find that they don’t always feel as great as they should.

I don’t know when it was all built but it was clearly quite recently.  But now we see the stains on the buildings, the cracks, the weeds, the plastic coating peeling off posts and railings, plants and green algae growing where they’re clearly not supposed to, rusty bits on vents and fittings and maintenance budgets (if they have them) presumably not up to the task.  Like a smart City trader after a weekend in the cells it doesn’t look so smart any more.  It looks a bit abandoned really.  

And basically it’s a pile of tower-blocks.  I don’t know if anyone estimated how long they’d last when they built them, my guess is that was a question dodged, but I predict that it’ll be less than 20 years before the first one comes down and the questions start getting asked as to how they got away with so many shoddy buildings that no-one really wanted or needed.

I just Googled ‘Leeds Dock’ and it seems it has a website – “Leeds Dock is a thriving public space featuring the best the city has to offer, from flexible contemporary workspace to quirky cafés and outdoor dining”.

It doesn’t look like it’s thriving (if it was maybe they wouldn’t have to insist it was) and I suspect that most of the space is actually private.  Quirky cafes – oh Lord save us!  Look at the News section for a list of Tweets about how brilliant it seems to be desperately trying to be.  

Am I just being harsh and cynical?  Probably.  Are these people really having a wonderful time?  Perhaps so and I should embrace 'independent food' and 'agility workshops 'to improve your run' (for only £12.50!) and waterside yoga and...well, perhaps it's just not for the likes of me...   

Friday, May 13, 2016

NISA local

There’s a new ‘NISA’ shop opened near me.  Just down the road from a little Tescos and a Co-op.  It opened in April.  I give it until Christmas.  Which is sad.  Presumably someone does viability projections on these things and maybe they ask a few local people – though probably not is my guess.  If they’d have asked me I’d have said it’d close by Christmas…

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The World's First Treat-Tossing Dog Camera

The world's first treat-tossing dog camera is here ladies and gentlemen!

Just in case you thought that human striving and endeavour was a bit of a waste of time sometimes...

For some reason I got signed up to one of those crowd-funding websites.  That's how I know about this  This groundbreaking idea is 302% funded.  So I don't have to.  Luckily.  Even though it has barking alerts and night vision.  

Maybe if I'm quick I can invent the dog-tossing treat camera?  Or the camera tossing treat dogger?

Barking alert seems appropriate I suppose... 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I is the NME / mighty fallen

I remember when you’d get the likes of Bogshed on the front cover of the NME - and that was back in the days when the NME was a big deal and competing with Sounds and Melody Maker.  But this week it has a lad in a suit on the front with the headline ‘this is suiting’ (whatever that might mean) – it’s an advert for Topman.

How are the mighty fallen eh?

Given the way the modern world is mind, I can just hear someone claiming that the lad in the suit is not actually on the cover but on the ‘wraparound’ or some-such logic-defying made up ad-speak.  Call me out of touch but to me the front cover is the thing that’s on the actual front of the magazine, the bit that you see without having to open it.  You know, the front.  The cover.  The front cover.  And not what's hidden inside.

I’m not blaming the NME for this state of affairs by the way but it’s still sad to see.  I doubt whether the old NME would have had a full-page advert for DFS settees in it either (or cars) but there you go…

The cover does tell me that it’s now OK again to wear white socks.  About time, I never had a problem with them.  Mind you the suits are too skinny and the trousers too short even for a 20 year old.  So there.

Who’s on page 3?  Jimmy Clitheroe.  My name for Biffy Clitheroe.  Or Clyro.  I bet their publicity people tell the world that they're on the cover of the NME this week.  Unfortunately they're not.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Weather what they tell you is true or not...

I'm not particularly comfortable moaning about the weather forecast but well, today...

Today I heard them saying on Radio 4 at about 8.30am that the weather 'in the North of England' was grey and cloudy and showery and would stay that way.  In fact it was bright and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.  People were remarking about what brilliant weather it was.  At a couple of points during the morning I checked various on-line weather sites including the BBC.  Many of the forecasts had those graphs divided into hours - and all of them said that in Leeds it was cloudy and raining.  WTF? (Oh that's 'Want That Fashion' according to a hoarding I passed today - they're just so darned clever those advertising types y'know?!)

Did none of them have a single intern or anyone at all who could look out of the window and work out that they were completely wrong?

In the end the weather did turn bad (some time in the afternoon) but it's a really surreal experience to be told by authoritative voices on the radio and usually reliable on-line sources like the BBC that black is actually white, or rather bright blue skies are actually grey rainy skies.

Maybe it was a glitch in the Matrix or tax haven money being re-shovelled about that caused the world to shift off its axis slightly...Shows that our super duper ever so modern 24 hour rolling weather world is not as advertised though...

Comfort Essentials

There exists in the world such a thing as Moisturising Gel Reflexology Socks.

“Comfort Essentials” apparently…I thought it essential that I tell you this fact.  I expect the UN will add this to the list of things a person needs that are essential along with drinkable water, shelter etc.

Monday, April 04, 2016

One for apostrophe fans'

There you go apostrophe fans, pick the bones out of this one - Cleethorpes sea front btw...

Big night in planned...

I caught a glimpse of a TV listings magazine this week.  I think I may have to stay in on Thursday.  Channel 5 have "Botched Up Bodies - Big Boobs Gone Bad" followed immediately (actually after 10 minutes of adverts I imagine) by "Baby Faced Binge Eaters".

And they say that television is shite nowadays...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Little Mix

For reasons I won't go in to (intriguing eh?!) I saw Little Mix perform last night.  I was trying to sum it up in a sentence.  That sentence is 'an S&M show for 9 year olds'...Gosh I'm full of myself - but can't help being proud of my journalistic brevity.

Btw, I was suggesting to someone that the name Little Mix was a pun on 'Little Minx' but they said no, it wasn't.  But surely I'm right.  I must be right!  I must be!

Actually the show was very like the sort of thing you see on the pier end in Skeggie, just marketed and monetised to the max.  A sexy one, a spooky one, a sing-long, a wave your phones in the air, a sit on the face of the backing dancers in your scarlet waspie.  But that's where I came in...  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs - the fight against phishing...

I got an email earlier today supposedly from HM Revenue & Customs saying “Confirm your tax refund”.  Immediately smelling a rat, or at least phishing or spam or virus or whatever I went on-line to find the actual HMRC to see what they say about this kind of thing. They say “Forward any suspicious emails to

So…I forwarded the dodgy email to them at that address.  Pretty soon I got a reply.  Did it say ‘thank you for forwarding your suspicious email to our suspicious email in box’ or similar?

No, I got a reply saying “The above message was not delivered due to the detection of virus "Mal/Phish-A" “

So there you go…if you get a dodgy email supposedly from Her Madge’s Tax and Revenue bear in mind that if it is actually a dodgy email it won’t get delivered…

I sent them this:


I got a suspicious email earlier today supposedly from yourselves.  I forwarded it to you as you suggest on your website.  It was rejected as a possible phishing email and not delivered.

If this is not a joke from someone with a neat line in irony perhaps you could tell me what is the point of forwarding suspicious emails to you if, when they are indeed suspicious, they get rejected so you never get to see them?

Yours sincerely

They don’t answer the phone so I don’t suppose they answer email either.  Or read it.  It's almost as if we're being had somewhere and that email address is a piece of taxpayer funded nonsense.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 avoided...

No point at the moment going on about David Bowie.  And I don't have anything different or half as interesting to say about him as thousands (millions probably) of other people.  But one quick thought...

I hadn't really thought very much about this previously, but you don't really get people who don't like David Bowie.  Not very many people would expect you to like everything he ever did, but surely everyone likes, or more likely loves a swathe of Bowie?

If they don't, I'd suggest that like people who don't like the Beatles, they be looked at suspiciously - and best avoided...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I am the Byrds!

I’ve been reading Jon Ronson’s book “So you’ve been publicly shamed” this weekend – and very good it is too.  The subject of plagiarism comes up in the book and this reminded me of something - I wrote the Byrds’ song Chestnut Mare!  I worry about the subject of plagiarism because I think that as well as it being something an unscrupulous individual might do it’s also possible to do by accident.  Hence my particular ahem, Chestnut…

Thing is that years ago I had this bit of a song I’d written that I really wanted to use but never did.  In hindsight it really wasn’t that great but my young self thought it was pretty good and certainly worth using.  I was particularly pleased that the chords changed quite fast under the melody which is / was not something I do that often.  It was just a chorus but I also had some words that seemed to sit with it really well.  Not great words mind but I thought I could use them and hang a song on it.  The words I had were something like ‘I’m going to get out there if I can’.  I might have played it to a couple of band members or something, I don’t remember.  It never got used. 

Scroll forward around 10 years and I heard the Byrd’s Chestnut Mare on the radio “I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can” – shit!  That’s my tune! Not only is that my tune but that’s pretty much my words too.  Thing is that before then I had never heard that song.  Absolutely not!  But well, it’s so close that I simply must have done – it was around on the radio when I was a kid (a Wikipedia entry tells me) so rather than the very very unlikely chance of it being a coincidence, it’s much more likely I’d heard it (maybe even a few times) and forgotten – and there it was popping out years later as if it was my own tune.  Luckily I never finished it, recorded it or released it.  And maybe if I had taken it further someone would have spotted the problem in advance and stopped me.  Point is that I nicked an important chunk of someone else’s song completely by accident.  In the modern world it seems very unlikely that the Twittersphere (or ‘one Twitter user’ or ‘observers took to Twitter’ as the modern media substitute for journalism has it) would (and we’re back to Jon Ronson’s book now) would have forgiven me.  And if I had any money it would have been presumably been taken off me by record company lawyers. 

I, ladies and gentlemen of the jury was a plagiarist.  And I had no idea…