Monday, September 21, 2009

I like Top Gear!

Hate to admit it but I actually like Top Gear. Except when they talk about cars. Then its rubbish.

Charlie Brooker

I've just finished reading my rather out of date Charlie Brooker book - and it's brilliant. I think I said this a while ago but Charlie, you've clearly worked out how shite television is. May I humbly suggest that instead of just slagging it off in a truth pointing out, entertaining way, JUST STOP WATCHING IT! I should re-write this and make it funnier and easier to follow grammatically. But I'm not paid by the Guardian so I won't.

Incidentally, if you're chav scum you read about Jordon, Jade, Peter and the rest. If you're a Guardian reader, you read about the press reaction to Jordan, Jade, Peter and the rest. This means you're better than them. Apparently.


It’s interesting to see that the paedophile scare continues with the whole registering and checking up on everyone. A man on the radio yesterday pointed out that he was having to pay the government £64 for a piece of paper telling him he wasn’t a paedophile and why the hell should he. Clearly he had to be checked because as a man he is a potential rapist or paedophile. Or worse! We need to be watched, catalogued and controlled all the time because we are all potential criminals in one way or another. But who would be up for doing that? - Hey, it's New Labour!

I may have mentioned this previously but here are three small ways in which religion has let me down. What I mean is actually three ways in which religious words and phrases have turned out to be, well, very disappointing and generally nothing-ey now I’m an adult.

For example, when I was a kid 'holy water' was something that could dissolve vampires and protect people from possession and all kinds of cool stuff. You should, it would seem, always have a vial (and it would never be a Tupperware cup) on hand for when things get really heavy, supernatural wise. It turns out that Holy Water is actually just water that a priest has talked to, or to be fair, over. A bit like one might while doing the washing up. I suppose it's the ritual that makes the difference. That would be the thing that makes it worth crossing people’s heads with and the rest.

Similarly ‘the last rites’ (which of course are always ‘administered’, no-one talks about a priest ‘muttering’ the last rites which it seems to me would be at least as accurate). Once again, when I was a kid I thought that this was some sort of treat. It was so fantastic and so good that you had to get it once before you die and if you’d never had it a bloke would rush round to your death bed to make sure you didn’t miss out. I could only imagine that this would be like having one’s dying trouser pockets filled with sweets of such unimaginable quality you could die happy just imagining the treat that you were probably not going to get due to your imminent death. I wondered if the ‘last rites’ somehow got taken back if you actually managed to pull through and the shameful priest would have to beg you not to tell. Once again, seems that the last rites are (or is?) a prayer. I’m not a Catholic incidentally and I can’t be arsed to check.

Finally there’s ‘consecrated ground’. Don’t be bad enough to be buried in non-consecrated ground because God won’t tolerate ground that hasn’t had words spoken over it by a vicar. I wish I could consecrate things by talking. Or make them sacred. I guess I’m stuck with ‘defiling’ and ‘polluting’ (like some men do with their bodies so I hear...) Perhaps religion is not for me.

I'm off to 'harvest' some names of teenagers from the internet so I can 'groom' them for something wicked.


I wonder what would happen if someone conducted a proper survey into what sort of preventable things actually kill people? I mean as opposed to the things that people, the government and the Daily Mail think will kill them.

For example, my guess is that terrorism doesn’t kill very many people. Car crashes on the other hand kill people every day. So how about doing away with the entire anti-terrorist organisation and putting the money into getting people onto trams and trains? Could we get away from that earnest ‘tribute to our emergency / armed services’ thing too? That'd be a bonus.

You could maybe not have a war in Afganistan and put the money into predicting earthquakes, that sort of thing.

There is no hope

There were a few very weird sights at Lotherton Hall bird garden last weekend. Some of the birds were a bit odd too...Boom boom! Seriously though, I did wonder which side of the fence the exhibits were on. The big raven in particular seemed to make more sense than the idiots making weird noises at it. Just idiot people I suppose...

Bah bah, bah bah ba ba bah!

There are few records I really loathe. There's that Friends theme of course and My Sharona by the Knack. Top of the pile however, and my vote for the worst record ever made - ever - is The Final Countdown by Europe. The genre is 'soft metal' I believe. If you need me to explain why that particular genre is 'a bad idea' then leave immediately please. Spandex, poodle hair, strangled high vocals and of course worst of all, fake brass - on a keyboard. Used as a lead instrument! No No No!!

I could check out and then detail their other crimes against humanity (finding our which country they came from for one thing) but that'd mean new memories to add to the old ones from way back when. You don't forget these kinds of atrocities. So, no!

The reason I mention this is that 'Europe' are playing in Leeds soon! If you must go to a cheesy 'rock' gig then you can see Saxon supported by Anvil! But Europe? I bet there's some sort of promotional tie in with Magic FM and Mike's Carpets. Probably with the same DJ (do they still have DJs or does it all come down a pipe direct from corporate musical hell?) who helps judge battle of the bands competitions and ruins the fireworks displays at Roundhay Park by playing shite pop music over them on an inedequate PA system.

On the subject of keyboards, I remember John Peel explaining (not in person, on his show) about how he did his record shopping. He'd pick up a record and look at the band line up. If they had a keyboard player he'd just not buy the record. Simple, classic, elegant and true. There's a man who knew stuff. There's too much prejudice and fundamentalism in the real world but not enough in music.

"99% is shit". True then, true now. The Final Countdown is 73% of the 99%.


They’ve finally got round to demolishing the Leeds International swimming pool. They could have kept it open a couple more years instead of closing it and leaving it to rot. They could have just not sold it off to property developers at all. They could have built a new city centre pool.

Public amenity vs the builders of the slums of the (near) future. Guess who wins – every time.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

They're taking my ideas and doing them better!

This is really depressing. I keep discovering people who do what I do but get paid for it. Now you might think I'm talking about music here - rubbish bands who are more successful than the one I'm in but not half as good. Well, yes, but I've known that for ages. But now I keep discovering that this applies to writing as well. A couple of Christmases ago someone bought me that book 'Is it just me or is everything shit', this is followed up by the whole 'Grumpy Old...' series and now I have a book by Charlie Brooker. They all do what I do on this blog but somehow have successfully hit the 'monetise' button.

Maybe they're just funnier than me. Charlie Brooker is. However, he is also as stupid as the telly he writes about. He obviously knows that telly is a complete waste of time but somehow hasn't worked out that the best course of action would be to stop watching it. Similarly, somebody Delingpole wrote a book called 'How to be Right'. This is a funny book but he appears to labour under the delusion that he's right-wing in some sort of anti left wing Guardian reader kind of way. He rants about things that are really annoying. And yet he somehow thinks that these things are 'left wing'. Nope, they're just things that are annoying. I think he works for the Telegraph - ha ha!

And the grumpy old men books are simply stories of reasonable, intelligent human beings being wound up by nonsense. Subsequently they're not very funny. And the Grumpy Old Women series is where somebody lost the plot completely.

Mind you, this is all out of date. I guess that finding that other people think the same (I only find out these things by accident as I don't read the papers or watch telly much) is being part of the zeitgeist or something? Am I part of the zeitgeist of 4 years ago?

More Bankers

A few weeks back I paid a cheque into the building society from my bank current account – Thinking that it takes a while for a cheque to go through I took a couple of days to get round to making an on-line transfer from one account to another (at the same branch) to cover the cheque. I went overdrawn and was charged £42! According to the subsequent paperwork the cheque was cashed on the same day and my transfer took 2 days (computers don’t work at the weekend it would seem) to go through. I complained at the bank and got some snotty attitude about it being ‘illegal’ to write a cheque when you haven’t got money in the account to cover it. Not that the sodding NatWest would ever commit itself to spending money it couldn’t cover eh?

The difference is that I did have the money – and at the same bank. To be fair to NatWest this is the first time they’ve really pissed me off in a very long time (and in the modern world where pissing customers off while banging on about ‘enhancing the customer experience’ and suchlike is a national pastime this is an achievement) so I didn’t immediately close my account with them. However, I’ve now moved all my money about and put it in building societies - and deprived NatWest of at least £42 in profit they would’ve made from me. I certainly hope so anyway. They enforced their rules and think they got away with it. But they didn’t. Better than burning the building down, if not quite as satisfying.

As an interesting (to me) aside, last week I got a leaflet from NatWest (‘Helpful Banking’ it says on it) explaining ‘The cheque clearing cycle’. Sounds like the cheque will sprout legs, pupate and become a butterfly cheque souring to the sun on wings of purest NatWest gossamer. What it actually says is that 6 days after ‘Transaction Day’ (when you pay the cheque in) ‘the customer can be sure that the money is theirs and it cannot be reclaimed’. That’s 6 days after the transaction day. Unless it a cheque to another financial institution it would seem, in which case they can do it in one. I heard a couple of years back that banks were going to speed up cheques. All that ‘3 days to clear’ would be a thing of the past. They obviously did change it – from 3 to 6 days. Capitalism is so efficient since the triumph of Thatcherism eh?