Saturday, July 21, 2007

Announcing my death

I’m planning to eat myself to death.

The good news is that I don’t actually need to do anything very different to what I do now. I plan to be checking out / popping clogs in the Autumn of 2017 (I'd say October or November -see I told you it would be Autumn). This give me 10 years. This, I think, should be more than enough. This isn’t an exact prediction but there are a number of things that make this desirable.

1. By then I should have done enough music to work out what it is I do, don’t do or can't do and to get really fed up with it.

2. By then I will have deteriorated physically to the point of well, apart from death itself, the point of everything really being a pain, literally and metaphorically.

3. By then I’ll be so bad tempered, twisted, bitter and generally grouchy that everyone will be really fed up of me (including me).

I'm reasonably confident on this one having taken into account the various factors involved. This is of course assuming 'the hand 0f fate' doesn't intervene to cock up the plan. I'm not currently planning to make this happen but it just seems to be about right.

Don't say you weren't told - just speed me on my way with Cadbury's Dairy Milk.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I went to the bank the other day. There was a sign up on one part of the counter saying ‘cashier balancing’. I hung around for a while to watch - It wasn’t much of a show.

There was more of a show outside - a picket of the bank no less – excellent! Anti-globalisation protesters? Environmentalists? Anarchists? No, no, not at all; it was representatives of a firm that makes leather cleaning products in Rodley. I spoke to their Marketing Director and asked what it was all about. I didn’t understand a word (though he did put me on to a good quality leather cleaner). He gave me a flyer. I didn’t understand a word. Among the things Natwest have apparently been doing are:

Giving cover on customers, then taking it away when the customer doesn’t pay the bill, being rude to customers (with proof from ‘blue-chip’ companies) and losing credibility with existing and new customers.

I suggest you clarify this by getting in touch with

I guess they were unhappy with the bank. Funny kind of protest though when they don't tell you what it is they're actually protesting about.

The Digital Revolution

And on the subject of fab modern technology, we have two types of telly in our house. One works. The other works but will sometimes not change channels. Sometimes it freezes for a while and nothing comes out of it at all but a single slightly juddering still picture. It goes off once in a while or ‘is being worked on and some services may not be available’. The picture on this same one is very often so far out of synch with the sound that it looks like a 1970’s children’s programme badly dubbed from Hungarian.

So, one type works fine and the other is frankly a bit crap.

Guess which is the cool modern one and which is going to be turned off soon because its old fashioned and apparently not very good?

Got it in one.

That Gate and a thermometer

Remember the gate? – The one at the WSM rehearsal room that didn’t work? – It’s now disconnected. Nothing left but an apparently permanently open gate and some cables sticking out of the ground covered with a cone.

Seems for once victory is mine. All we need now is a gate that closes and can be locked. This is something that has been possible for hundreds of years in much of the world. Only now have we lost the ability to perform simple mechanical tasks. My latest encounter with inappropriate digital technology was a thermometer in hospital – did it work? – did it buggery. They had to toddle off for a new battery and fiddle with it. I nearly produced my Dunlop tyre pressure gauge, stuck it under the nurse’s nose and said ‘see – analogue – works – inappropriate technology’. They’d have locked me away I suppose.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Older Hip-hop guys?

One phenomenon (or is it phenomena? - Do do do-do-do to you anyway) I’d not been aware of until today was ‘older hip-hop guys’. Now years ago there were Teddy Boys pushing prams. I’ve also seen old punks, Goths, skins and indie kids (hello!) but not ‘older hip-hop guys’. So there you go, mid 30’s and still hanging round on street corners talking about whatever it is 'older hip-hop guys' talk about. Just goes to show dunnit? – And it seems that Hull was destroyed by a bomb and no-one noticed for weeks. Something like that anyway.

Shafted by Virgin

Cheap title I email from ‘Virgin Media’ It says that their broadband helpline number is changing and from then on it’ll cost 25p per minute to call from a Virgin home phone, plus 10p to connect. Mobiles and other networks may vary.

Am I to understand from this that if they don’t provide what I pay for and I ring them it will cost 25p a minute? Plus a 10p connection charge! You’d think a phone company would have access to cheap phone lines wouldn’t you? – or perhaps they just like to make a profit out of screwing up. I was quite measured in my reply though I did point this out to them.

Of course, as soon as I sent this off it I find they’ve helped themselves to 2 payments this month – so I may be calling them after all.

This, by the way, was my reply:

Dear Virgin Media

As it happens I haven't had any particular problems with my broadband. If I do however I'd appreciate it if you'd charge a reasonable rate (how about free? - or the same amount it would cost me to phone locally, or even across the country for example) and I'd expect to have my call answered immediately. I charge 10p to reply to emails by the way - call it a 'connection charge'.

I'm afraid this message just makes me wonder if I'd end up being charged a lot of money to wait to get through.

Just thought you should know!


John Parkes

Opera is not posh - But Oprah be?

An email arrives from Opera North. It says that “Opera is seen as an art-form which is for the few and not the many; it has many perceived barriers which stop people from all backgrounds attending the opera; therefore we would like to invite people who are seen as gate keepers of the community to be on our new consultative panel”.

They obviously want to get ordinary people to go to t’Opera.

The message comes from Community Development Officer Portia Forbes-Rawlins….

Now point made there of course - but is it? It was pointed out to me that our Porsh might be black thus potentially not porsh at all (maybe Porche though?) Can one be posh and black? Well I think so but it did take the wind out of my sails a little. But of course it doesn't matter as, in opera (to quote my Mum on 'pop music') 'you can't hear any of the words' and 'they put on such silly voices'.

The gate keepers of the community are presumably something akin to Orks in Lord of the Rings - that would be the film, stupid, don't accuse me of having read the book; I haven't read anything by Roger Dean.

"Do Everday Things"

A leaflet arrives. It's from Leeds City Council. They advice that one should "Do everday things." Cracking advice for the sort of people interested in doing everyday things of course and a sensible counter to the advertising that says "do something amazing" (that one is from the government and is about blood). As an international rock icon I have very little to do with 'everyday things' obviously and I wonder what kind of thing they advise that one does - everyday, presumably. Luckily they provide a list.

This includes:

1. Sweeping the floor
2. Walking
3. Carrying shopping
4. Climbing steps or the stairs
5. Standing up and sitting down

The standing up and sitting down they advise is done 'several times'

So, what is this strange leaflet? - It's advice for 'older people' and is considered necessary apparently. If you'e not careful you see they end up sitting down and getting other people to carry the shopping and only going up and down the stairs when they need to and vacuuming the floor and all sorts of generally wrong behaviour. The they become a burden and the people at the Council have to send them to be starved to death in private care homes.

This is one of a series of leaflets. They have one suggesting that you eat when hungry and to wrap up warm when its cold. I propose a new one - ‘Being Patronised - How we waste Your Money Treating You Like an Idiot’

Saturday, July 07, 2007

More Harehills!

….and in a rare musical reference the Whole Sky Monitor single Harehills Chapeltown got played on proper national radio by Steve Lamacq – ‘a huge hulking anti-pop song’! A chink of light in an otherwise dark world of demographics, marketing and paid record pluggers. We just posted a copy, simple as that. Almost like having the man Peel back. You post record, person on the radio who actually seems to like music plays it, you feel good and stick two fingers up to the marketing sleaze! I should of course remind you that the definition of ‘Radio DJ’ is ‘someone who is not very interested in music’. Couple of honorable exceptions I have to say…

Con Leche

And on the leering pervert front…top singer / songwriter Charlie Barker (see for friends...) gets a few strange messages via her myspace page apparently . I should explain she is 22 years old, blonde and pretty. Her Dad answers them! I kind of hope he talks underwear and masturbation but I suspect not. She described some bloke who had been in touch as ‘an old lech’. I wanted to ask her the simple question ‘have you never met a man then’? There are, I’m afraid she still has to discover, leches who are a bit obvious and leches who cover it up a bit better....and gay men I suppose. Ah well….

Smirking Ban

There's been lots of publicity about a 'smoking ban'. The top deck of the bus is still full of smoke, the venue is still full of smoke and, most gratifying of all obviously, is the line of cancer patients in wheelchairs and heavily pregnant teenagers from Seacroft slouching at the hospital door dragging away. Who knows what would happen if smoking weren't banned on the whole hospital grounds? Not sure which side I'm on on this one...

Now entering Harehills Chapeltown...

Only in Harehills (OK, maybe a few other places in the world) could one stand next to a woman with 2-inch long square nails, foot-long diamond earrings and a pink corduroy trilby - at a bus stop. She was beautiful too as it ‘appens. See, I’m an old softie at heart – or a leering pervert. I prefer leering pervert if you’re wondering. Hardly worth noting that the three times an hour buses came in a line within 2 minutes. Saw two mini-cabs. One barreled through the pedestrian crossing as the green man bleeped and the other did an illegal U-turn in front of me. It really is mad watching the traffic in Harehills. Watch for 10 minutes and you just won’t believe you haven’t seen a crash. There’s a ‘Leading multi-cultural supermarket’ opening soon too!

Monday, July 02, 2007


Excellent! - The local key cutting shop not only sells Blakey's segs (or 'shoe protectors') but also string vests. There's a Union Jack on the seg packet. I expect that means a firm in Britain imports them from China but you never know...Is the Union Jack a logo? 'spect so. I didn't inspect the string vests, I'm not that nostalgic.

...and let's hope that the bloke from the DIY shop who delivers gas cylinders in a small flatback isn't obviously a Muslim or he'll probably be getting shot this morning.