16 December 2009

Raging against the machine

It can't have escaped anyones attention, that apparently next week it will be Christmas, and in becoming of a festive tradition, the race for the 'Christmas Number 2' is on.

The race for the Number 1 spot has become such a formality that no bookie will offer anything but the very shortest odds on the X Factor winner being the winner, so the also rans chase for the number 2 spot.

But could this year be different? A campaign on that started on Facebook, and has spread through Twitter and Reddit has been suggesting that all right minded music fans buy a copy of Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of" this week, in an attempt to bump the evil Simon Cowell off his throne.

On the surface, it seems like a bloody good idea. How dare some smug sanctimonious cock ruin Christmas by touting vacuous empty tunes at the vacuous empty headed masses just because the know that just like sheep, they'll flock out and buy them?

After all, isn't that supposed to be Cliff Richards job?

For years the charts have been 'fixed', and even more so at Christmas my music execs, canny advertising, and heavy radio play that drives songs to be Top of the Pops - but does it matter?

What we didn't used to see was all the manipulation that it takes to do that, but now everything is on display - especially in those trousers Cowell.

Does it really affect anyone in a negative way if some shite gets to number one for Christmas? And who am I to say it is shite? If it gives some 9 year old pleasure to receive 3 minutes of mind spunk, who am I to tell them that really they should be investigating The Falls back catalogue, or maybe trying some of Thom Yorkes solo stuff?

If it gets them into listening to music, surely that's a good thing, and will give them some embarrassing 'first record' stories to tell their muso friends when older - and if not - where's the harm? I've got a friend who only owns 7 cd's. I don't understand how this can be possible, but I think no less of him for it.

I don't own a single golf club, but apparently it is just as pleasurable a pastime as listening to music - as is being number one. It just has no bearing on me.

I suppose the difference with music and golf is, golf can't be manipulated - but what about books?

For years any book mentioned on Richard and Judy, or Oprah has been pretty much guaranteed to be a best seller, but do you get militant readers up and down the country insisting we all buy Ricky Gervais' "Flanimals" just to keep Delia Smiths perennial Christmas cook book down?


The Christmas number 1 single, is yesterdays news. A festive popularity contest and nothing more. In years gone by with just the Top of the Pops Christmas special and a handful of radio stations it mattered more to the consumer, because that was all you would hear for days. Now we have 14 billion radio and tv stations, so if you don't like what's being played on one, you can probably find something you do like on another. Or just make your own festive playlist on itunes, spotify, or a good old fashioned mixtape.

So if you want to spoil Simons fun, go buy a copy of Killing in the Name Of. Despite my ramblings above, I have done. Not necessarily fro the X factor thing, but because it made me realise that I didn't own a copy, and it is a truly great song. And I'm just curious is any radio station will play it (heavily bleeped) if it does succeed. So on those counts buy it.

If you really don't want to, that's fine - as RATM's front man Zack de la Rocha will testify many, many times...

"Fuck you I won't do what you tell me"

04 December 2009

Large packet of skins please

Last week, whilst not shitting through the eye of a needle, I was also making a vague attempt at turning 37 with a degree of dignity.

Not easily done when you can't move more than a couple of rooms away from the nearest toilet. but by the afternoon I was feeling sufficiently improved to chance a trip out the house.

The original plan of cinema, Chinese, then booze went out the window, replaced with a trip to Tesco to secure provisions for one of my birthday presents.

Ladies and gentleman, I am now the proud owner of a mincer/sausage maker.

Whilst through my youth I may have spent part of my birthday searching for all manner of different 'skins', the only variety I was after now would not be rolled around or down anything, but stuffed with minced pork, and a bit of 'special stuff'.

I was rather surprised that no local butchers were prepared to sell me any - perhaps assuming that I would be doing them out of business. Fuckwits. What did they think I was going to fill them with? And where would I be most likely to find the requisite meat?

Not giving up, I found a nice website that sells all things sausage, and procured enough skin to make 60 meters of bangers.

As it wouldn't arrive until the following day, I started my great sausage experiment by making the next best thing - sausage rolls.

Four different blends later left me thinking that sage can be a bit overpowering, cranberries would be nicer if cooked and cooled before adding to the mix, you really shouldn't scrimp on salt, and a sausage lacking in brains, bollocks and bulking agents is far superior to the shit you get from supermarkets.

The weekend saw my first attempt proper at sausages in skins, and I was very pleased with the honey and mustard variety, but more mustard powder next time me thinks.

Today I have moved one step nearer to the Christmas sausage. This year my esteemed siblings and I are giving mother a break from Christmas dinner by all doing a course. As Mrsslippy and I will be staying over, it seemed only right and fair we volunteered to do the main, rather than having some other poor soul have to come round at 7 in the morning to start the turkey off.

So in the Christmas Banger Mark II (Mark I went in sausage rolls) we have

  • 200g belly of pork
  • 400g shoulder of pork
  • 4 large tablespoons cranberry sauce (cranberries simmered in sugar water until coats the back of a spoon/sets when chilled
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly pummeled black pepper
  • zest and juice from 1 orange
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs
I've made them 2 different lengths so I can test which is better when wrapped in bacon.

Now they just have to rest overnight before they can be cooked.

Sausage sandwiches for breakfast.

And lunch..

And dinner..

Until I've filled and eaten the remaining 57 meters of skin that's sat on the kitchen worktop waving at me.

Fuck I love sausages.

23 November 2009

The Shits

I'm not very well today.

It all started with not feeling very well yesterday, but then I wasn't supposed to feel well yesterday.

I went out on Saturday for early birthday drinks, which started at 4pm with Gingerfeck, with Mrsslippy and the rest arriving later, what with them having to have worked..

So I was fully expecting to feel headachey, with an unsettled stomach - or just plain hungover if you want to call it that.

But it didn't feel like a classic hangover, and rather than feeling better as the day progressed, I just felt worse. My suspicions were aroused that there might be something else going on when I noticed that as we watched TopGear, Mrsslippy (who wears a jumper in the summer), was happily sat on the bed in just a post bath towel, I (who break into a sweat at the merest glimpse of sunlight), was curled up under the duvet shivering.

Out came the thermometer, and as suspected, I wasn't cold, I had a temperature of 39 degrees.

Today, I still feel like shit, and more annoyingly, I feel like shitting all the time. It's probably not the dreaded swine flu, but there is a definite ambiance of farmyard in the toilet.

It's bad, but I've had worse.

I've seen more than my fair share of shit back when I was nursing. It never ceased to surprise me with either the volume or force that a patient could evacuate their bowels. My personal favourite was a gentleman in a standing aid, who had such sudden and explosive diarrhoea as he was being stood up that he blew down his pyjamas, and proceeded to create a toxic puddle so wide that we had to put plastic bags on our feet in order to wade through the effluence and rescue him from the mechanical contraption.

I've told tale here before of a nasty episode of the shits whilst on holiday, but messy as that was, it's still not the worst case of blowing mud...

Several years ago, while I was still living and working at the Hospital, I picked up a nasty little winter diarrhoea an vomiting bug. After a day of lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, only interrupted by frequent trips to the toilet, I decided I would feel better if I had a bath.

Indeed, after a nice long soak I was feeling a little better, and started to climb out. It was at that point that I heard the taps being run on full blast.

Only I could see the taps.

And they were off.

So where was the noise coming fro......OH SWEET JESUS!!!!

Looking down I could be a rapidly expanding brown puddle around where my one leg still in the bath was balanced. Whenever a patient had explained away their feacal incontinence in the past with "I didn't know I was doing it nurse", I was always slightly sceptical.

"You must've known" I would think. "You can't possibly shit yourself without knowing".

But apparently you can.

I had no idea it was coming out of me. It seemed my sphincter had failed, and the only thing that was keeping the contents of my bowels in my bowels was the pressure of one arse cheek against the other.

The very act of spreading my legs to step out the bath had broken the seal, and a gallon of effluence had very suddenly, and without sensation emptied itself into the bath.

I rather embarrassingly rinsed it out and showered off, then dipped into the bathroom next door for a repeat exercise in an unsullied tub, and this time promising myself to take greater care when stepping out.

So as bad as I feel now, I know it could be worse, and that I will get better. I'm just glad that the only time in adulthood that I've shat myself I was naked, on my own, and standing underneath a shower head.

And on that note, I'm off to the toilet again. Cleaning a bath out is a lot easier than cleaning a mattress....

17 November 2009

Noisy Drunken Sex

I was recently reminded of an occasion where I was involved in some noisy drunken sex.

I say involved, but I wasn't so much a participant, as in instigator and observer.

Several years ago I shared a house on the outskirts of beautiful Cambridge with some not so beautiful friends. As with all rented accommodation, every room that you could fit a bed in was technically a bedroom, so as to maximise income for the landlord.

I was lucky enough to have a downstairs bedroom, backing onto the garden. I say lucky, because it was nearest to the kitchen - a far greater priority than bathroom proximity - and it was graced with patio doors.

This meant that on a summers morning I could simply roll onto the floor, kick open the doors, and sunbathe in the low morning sun. As the day passed, I could drag my armchair out, and still be able to see my tv, which I'd hooked up to the Sky in the living room with 30 feet of under carpet wiring for a pre Sky Multi-room world.

And best of all, come the evening, I had the largest en suite in the world, because the world was my en suite.

No drunken wandering about the house for me in the middle of the night, just stand up and turn right. I would generally wander down the lawn a bit, but if it was pissing it down, then I was pissing where I stood.

One balmy summers evening, I'd spent a very fruitful few hours day getting well and truly lathered at social club where I worked. The walk home passed a little Kebab van that was always parked a few doors down from me, so feeling the need to settle my swilling stomach, and because I'd been so busy boozing, I'd forgotten to have dinner, a large donor was procured, and practically swallowed whole.

An hour later and I'm tucked up in bed, and everything starts to swim....

Fortunately, the en suite was as ever, unoccupied, and ready to face the full brunt of whatever I could throw at it, and boy did I throw.

Flame grilled lamb with assorted salad, wrapped in lightly toasted flat bread, all in a Broadside jus was served up on the patio. Taking care to try to remember that it was there if I needed to use the en suite facilities again, I left the doors open, and collapsed back on by bed.

I'm not sure how long after that it started, as I had started to drop off, but I was suddenly aware of noises outside. Panting and grunting, getting louder and louder, from somewhere in the darkness. I peered round the curtain from my prone position, but could see nothing in the darkness.

Now standing, I scanned the garden. The noise seemed to be coming from everywhere but I could see nothing. I braced myself to step out into the void, taking care to step over what I'd recently voided, but when I looked down - it was gone!!

And then I saw the first of many pricks.

In the shadow of the doorstep were two hedgehogs, their messy footprints led back to my messy foodstuffs, which it appeared had now been largely consumed.

Like a couple of cheap chavs, wankered on someone else's booze, and stuffed on a discarded donor, they had thrown caution and abandon to the wind, and were going at it like there was no tomorrow in the nearest doorway. Mine. And by God were they loud.

So next time you hear the classic joke 'How do hedgehogs make love?', before you leap in with the obvious 'very carefully', check first whether they are pissed or not.

Because if they are, I can guarantee there's not a lot of care, or affection shown. Just a lot of grunting, and a complete disregard for who's watching, or gratitude for the free night out.

15 November 2009

I'm not dead

It's all been a bit quiet from me recently. Fear not, I'm not dead, just been a little bit undead.

Mrsslippy and I have been away again to another WiFi notspot - this time the depths of rural Norfolk, with the reason being a weekend break with friends, which me and 'teh Mrs' extended into a full week.

Katieluv found us a lovely old building that was more than ample for the dozen of us that were there for the weekend, and mahoosive when it was just the two of us.

A 3 hour 75 mile drive on a cold damp Friday evening, which was repeated as a 3 hour round trip on Saturday morning when I realised I'd forgotten my manbag containing my ipod, without which would mean that not only would there been no playlist for the main event of the weekend, a spooky Halloween party, but we'd also be forced to watch just terrestrial TV for the rest of the week, rather than hooking up the poddage to the TV to watch Frisky Dingo.

Theme for Halloween was 'things that scare you'.

Being as the only things I believe I am irrationally scared of are balloons and heights (and it's not too irrational to worry about falling to your death), and I though both were rather impractical costumes, I went for the next best thing.

Contact lenses.

I hate them.

Fortunately I don't need glasses, so had never tried them, but the sight of Mrsslippy poking things in her eyes makes my stomach churn.

So when I found that I could buy them online, it didn't take me long to decided that I would be a zombie.

Bringing up the courage to put them in took slightly longer.........

Choosing a night where Mrsslippy was at work gave me all the time in the world to dither and blink and drop and cringe as I tried to do the most wrong thing in the world - poke myself in the eye with a bit of plastic stuck to the end of my finger.

And that was the easy bit. After 30 mins of blinking it off my finger every time it came to within an inch of my eye they were in. Then I had to get them out. I've never seen Mrsslippy doing it by leaning forward and slapping the back of her head, but having realised that the alternative I faced was going to have to actually pinch my eyeball, it had to be worth a try.

Didn't work - and another 20 minutes later they were out. I could do it.

Next preparation for Halloween was a 'flavoured vodka'. I was aware that people had previously dissolved cola cubes, jelly babies and such like in bottles for such occasions, but had never read anywhere in the rules that said they had to be sweets.

Because I'm a savoury type of guy.

So what could I put in my vodka?

What's really tasty and different?

What's my favourite food?

Of course.....


Bacon Vodka.

Could it be done?

Well according to the internet, it can.

I found a blog with instructions , and even a company that sells the stuff in America. So it can be made, and it can be drunk.

I fried my bacon and crammed it into a kilner jar and covered it with vodka. Within a couple of hours the fat had set on the top, and the vodka looked like heavily infected urine with chunks of dead flesh in it.


Three weeks later, I passed it through a sieve, and it now just looked like fatty pus-ridden piss. Not disheartened yet, I carried on with the instructions, and put it in the freezer so all the fat would clump together, and I could poor it through a coffee filter to make a relatively clear liquid.

To filters later I had it. Slightly yellow in colour, but no bits, no sediment, and a very unsettling smell.

We had 10 different bottles to sample. It was going to be a messy night.

To be honest, mine wasn't too well received. In fairness, both the blog and the manufacturer of the Bakon Vodka never suggested that you drank it neat, but that it went very well in a Bloody Mary. On it's own, it was Bloody Awful.

Best vodka of the night went to Lizzie with her Mars Bar vodka, which was an absolute joy to drink, although I also enjoyed Garys liquorice, and Mrsslippys After Eight.

Best costume of the night went to Mrsslippy for her scarecrow.

The full photoset is currently slideshowing on this page, or can be here or here in hi-res.

But the most terrifying thing of the weekend?

The contents of Gingerfecks digestive tract. Poor fucker retired to his bed within minutes of arriving on Saturday morning having been bad both ends, and didn't reappear until Sunday morning.

Pure evil - probably picked up from his sisters kids that were over visiting.

Children - now they are fucking scary....

p.s. - I still have some vodka left.Any takers?

25 October 2009

An Ill Wind

My general grumpiness at things I've seen this week is many fold, but despite the obvious chance to poor scorn at Nick Griffin and all things BNP, it has already been covered to death in every newspaper, blog or TV show.

It would be too easy, like shooting fish in a barrel, or to use a more appropriate metaphor, shooting mutated bug eyed toads an a bath of their own shit.

Nor will I moan about the posties. The media will happily tell you that they're striking about 'pay and conditions' - but have they told you what the issues with pay and conditions are?


I don't get a lot of post that I get over excited about if it's delayed. If I order something online it's generally because I can't be arsed to go to town and buy it in a real shop. If I needed it straight away, I'd get off my arse. I buy it online, it comes when it comes. If it still hasn't arrived in a week, it's probably the vendor, not the postman. The only thing that comes though my door on a regular basis is junk mail, which is about as welcome as the postie shoving his cock through the letterbox. Fortunately he has the choice not to do the latter, and probably hates carrying and shoving shit through everyone's door just as much as we hate receiving it. Check Roy Mayall's blog for the posties side to the strike. Up the workers!

No, this week I am pissed off about being blamed for global warming.

You must have seen the advert. The 'ACT on CO2' one with that bloke who used to be Nigel in Eastenders, then a doctor in Casualty or Holby or something, reading an overly cute child actress his daughter a bedtime story about how the adults have ruined everything.

As the story goes, 'CO2 is released into the atmosphere when the grown ups use energy'.

Now it's many years since I did science at school, so excuse me while I stuff another lump of coal into the laptop so I can open another tab and check Wikepedia...

...ah yes..as I thought. CO2 is produced by burning fossil fuels and vegetable matter. So maybe they have a point, and a coal powered laptop is not the most ecologically sound option, which is why I don't have one. In fact nothing in Slippy Towers is coal powered -with the exception of the coal fire - which really only goes on at Christmas.

Everything else uses good old fashioned electricity out the wall sockets. I know that fossil fuels are used to create that electricity, but that wasn't me. They don't stoke up the boilers every time I turn on the kettle. If I leave a light on , I am wasting energy, but it's energy that I have no control over how it is created. If I don't leave things on standby, and only boil enough water to fill the cafetiere (yeah - so I don't drink instant - I am a coffee snob), it will mean we all use less energy, but it doesn't mean the Energy companies aren't still going to burn that coal. It'll just take them a little bit longer to get through it all, and the government gets more time to prevaricate about alternate sources.

They could make it from any number of renewable sources, but still choose to burn fossil fuels, charge us though the nose for the electricity, then ask us not to use quite so much of it because we're destroying the environment.

And I'm also well aware that a lot of electrical appliances kick out a lot of excess heat - 90% of the energy used by an old style light bulb was converted into heat, not light. So now the nights are drawing in, and the evenings getting colder, on go the energy saving light bulbs - but it's still a bit chilly in the house, so on goes the central heating a little earlier than last year. And where does the energy come for that?

Oh yeah....

"Will it have a happy ending?" asks the girl in the advert.

"Yes" says Slippymark. "I'll be able to wear flip flops in the winter, and be able to walk to the coast rather than a two hour drive."

Not that I want that to happen. I quite like the North Norfolk coast, and don't think it should be relocated to South Cambridge.

But my electrical habits are not a contributing factor to CO2 production, it is the people who generate that energy.

My biggest contribution to Global Warming is my own personal methane production. Methane is 21 more times powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2, and I produce it in vast quanities. The government shouldn't be pointing the finger, it should be pulling mine.

So if the Government is serious about cutting greenhouse gases, it must pledge to invest more in renewable energy, and just stop burning the remaining reserves of fossil fuels used for energy generation.

If it does that, I will pledge to take a closer look at my diet, and try not to fart quite as much - if only to stop one of my favourite breweries being lost to the sea forever.

20 October 2009

My favourite waste of time

I am a creature of habit, and those habits are becoming more time consuming.

I've long since given up the far too time devouring World of Warcraft, and the equally disruptive, and wasteful habit of sitting around in a boozer most evenings, puffing away on tabs.

At least the latter two were not mutually restrictive, and with even the alleged mans inability to multi task, I could do both, and talk shite at the same time. I could even drink, smoke and play WOW together, but now that of the 3, all that I succumb to is the occasional glass of wine or G&T, I should have loads of time on my hands, but it would seem this is not the case..

I get up with the best of intentions to start work at a respectable time, but by the time I have made a cup of coffee and turned on the laptop to 'catch up on the news', all of a sudden its 2 hours later and I am still sat on the sofa wrapped in a towel, bath gone cold, and I won't be in the office before 10.30 again.

Because catching up on the news has become so fucking labour intensive, because there is just so damned much of the stuff that I need to read.

The news used to just mean logging onto BBC online and clicking through the World, UK, Health, Science, Entertainment and Sport sections. All done in 20 minutes.

Now I have to open multiple tabs for all the news I can't live without.

First comes Facebook. A notorious time waste, but relatively quick to get through. Amongst the usual bollocks of peoples updates on Farmville, Mafia Wars and such like, there just may be some news of significance from a real friend - not just someone who knows me, but I couldn't really care for, and yet was to polite to turn down the friend request.

As fast as new applications are added, I turn those fuckers off. I don't want to know what you just scored on Boggle, or that you just got a new virtual cow. I want see pictures of friends new children, and hear how they're coping with parenthood when in my mind they're still the boys from school who couldn't even take care of themselves. Five minutes is all I need for Facebook, then its its onto Twitter...

I've covered Twitter before. I now 'follow' 150 people. For all the media would have you believe, we are not part of Stephen Frys private army of nerds. It's a collective consciousness for passing on idle thoughts, or spreading news before the 'real' news gets hold of it. Passing links to stories that may never have got exposure otherwise. One prime example is the vile reporting of Steven Gatelys death in the Daily Mail. A paper that most right minded people would not normally even wipe their arse with was suddenly hit with 'an orchestrated campaign' to vilify one of it's reporters.

This from a paper that bayed for the blood of Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand, whipping it's readers into a frenzy over something they had never heard, but should none the less be outraged. What Twitter did was more like Chinese Whispers. Someone read the article online, was offended, and 'tweeted' a "fuck me - have you read this" with a link to the article. People following this person read it, thought "fuck me - the woman's clearly mad", and retweeted it, meaning all the people that followed them saw it too. Within the hour, probably everyone on Twitter had recieved the link, and so many had tried to register a complaint with the PCC, that it brought their website down.

That's not an orchestrated hate campaign - that's the public thinking for themselves, and thinking that Jan Moir is nothing but an ill educated homophobic cunt.

Not every day on Twitter is full of controversy, but amongst the ramblings, amusing links to videos and photos, there's also the breaking news that the networks can't or won't show you. I was following the chase for 'Balloon Boy' an hour before the BBC or Sky News had it as a story, and Trifigura would probably not have got the attention it did without the Twitterati passing it on. It can take a good 20 minutes to catch up on all the updates from overnight, before moving onto Google Reader.

Google Reader is a Web based aggregator of RSS and Atom feed. That is it takes the websites that you look at often, and whenever they are updated, it pulls them into one place to read.

See those little orange buttons at the bottom right of this page under 'Subscribe'? That's an RSS feed. If you have Google account, it means that if you click on that, every time I post a new blog, it goes to your Google reader page, along with any other websites that you subscribe to.

My problem is, I think I may subscribe to too many. Not all of the websites are updated daily. Charlie Brookers Guardian column is once a week, but Scaryducks excellent blog is most days. Star Wars, Fail blog, and Dinosaurs and Robots may post a couple of stories a day. Den of Geek and Boing Boing may post several stories. All in all I currently subscribe to over 60 RSS feeds, with can mean over a hundred links, stories, Youtube videos, weird photos and blogs to trawl through every morning.

I don't have time, but I have to do it. I can't miss the latest information on anything. And it's also come to my attention that some stories get duplicated, and there's no way of really knowing what is newest and hottest. So then I have to go to Reddit.

Reddit is a social news website. Here fellow Redditers post links to stories, photo's etc, and they are rated by users as to how interesting/cool/cute/fluffy/weird they are. It's real time updating shows what the World is looking at. If it's new I have to see it.

This mornings Reddit story is this afternoons Boing Boing, and tonights Twitter, and then next weeks Facebook link. In a month someone who'se only undestanding of the internet is their work email will send it to you, no matter how much in breach of your workplaces diversity and respect rules it is.

And when I get home from work - late because I didn't rock in until nearly 11 o'clock - the cycle begins again.

Where am I going with this?

Why does it matter?

It's because yesterday I remembered a book I read in my teens by E.M Forster.

Not 'Howards End' or 'A Passage to India', nor 'A Room with a View'. I don't yearn for a tech free society with under butlers and tea wallahs.

100 years ago this month (spooky timing), Forster published a short story called 'The Machine Stopped', which I read in a sci-fi anthology.

Set in a dystopian future (is there any other sort?)where humans can no longer live on the surface of the earth, it couldn't be more different than his more famous works.

People live in isolation, communicating via a global communication device called 'The Machine', which caters for all their social and spiritual needs. People communicate through a video conferencing/messaging system, where their sole existence is the seeking and passing of new ideas.

A society who never go outside, never see other people. Just sitting around, plugged into some global conscious, passing the same rubbish back and forth having long forgotten what real life is all about.

The internet machine breaks down, and suddenly nobody knows what to do with themselves.

Forster should have stuck to stuffy melodramas. His sci-fi is bollocks, and could never happen. It may have been written in 1909, but it's just preposterous.

Anywho, maybe I'll just pop out for a bit and stretch my legs. Get some fresh air. Talk to some real people.

Just as soon as I've checked Twitter.

15 October 2009

Riddle me this

I've just finished reading, or rather listening to, Dan Browns latest offering.

I've read his other four books, and despite recent criticism that his writing is actually 'a bit shit', I thought I should probably give this one a butchers. I went down the audio book route as it helps pass the time walking to work, although by doing this, I was well aware that I was going to be turning a four hour read into a sixteen hour listen.

He certainly does have a distinctive style, and has had a great degree of success, so I think I've worked out the magic formula for writing like Dan Brown.

------Contains Spoilers---If you intend on reading The Lost Symbol, go no further----

  • Take a bunch of hokey science, and hide it within the fact that the book opens with the statement 'all the technology, buildings, ceremonies are real etc....
  • Have your hero make witty references to his own books, where you are clearly referencing your own previous works.
  • Instill a sense of urgency by keeping the chapters so short, and always ending on a cliff hanger, so the reader keeps saying 'Just one more...'. Even though you know in your heart of hearts that this is really more likely to just piss them off
  • Start each chapter like an entry from Wikepedia, proving that it is 'all real'. Readers will not mind that the book scans like a shitty encyclopedia.

  • Bring in the usual stereotypes of a simpering romantic interest, a lunatic villain, an old friend in peril,and a foreign law officer that you don't know if you can trust
  • Orchestrate a ridiculous master plan that is dependent on several people co-operating, or not co-operating (because it is actually a clever double bluff and that's what you want them to do)
  • Organised religions and groups are a great target, as you can make up loads of stuff that they either won't dignify with a defense, or if they do, you can use the old 'no smoke without fire' approach. Catholics (or the Church as a whole), the CIA, the Masons are all clearly mad and dangerous, therefore good for a go.
  • Keep referring to modern technology just to prove what a cutting edge, techno thriller it is. Do not be afraid to crowbar something into the last few pages that hadn't been invented when you started writing the book,such as Twitter, although being as that is commonplace now, maybe Google Wave, and just hope it takes off.

  • Ignore Google. For example, if you think you're looking for the address '8 Franklin Square', but there is no such address, the top result of an 8x8 Magic Square designed by top Mason Ben Franklin, it's probably not worth mentioning. Particularly if you are trying to solve a puzzle of an 8x8 grid of symbols on the square base of a magic pyramid
  • String out 'puzzles' so the reader can play along at home. Even if a characters life is at risk, it's fun to waste several pages while the hero drops cryptic hints to the sister of the friend in peril so she can work out the solution for herself.

  • Spread out the action over multiple sites, so your hero has to rush around being chased by helicopters with the power to send electrical pulses that can knock out telecoms towers to stop emails being sent.
  • Have the hero 'die' two thirds into the book, such as by drowning him, only to later reveal that he drowned in a perflourocarbon chamber - liquid that you can breath, just like in the film 'The Abyss', and more 'real science' from the pages of Wikipedia.
  • If your 3 heroes have been drowned, had limbs chopped off, or drained of their blood by a madman (who may or may not be a thought dead family member, but is now very much dead), don't waste time with CIA debriefings, or medical treatment. Have them chortle to themselves about what a strange evening it's been, and talk some weird psychobabble about the biggest secret of all, is the power of the mind - it's just we've all forgotten how to use it.
  • Think of the film rights. Having a book climax with 60 pages to go gives away that it's not quite the ending, but in a cinema it'll be too dark for people to see their watches, and they'll all be really shocked when they realise there's still more to come.

So did I like it? I'm not telling, but if you look very carefully I've hidden a code of my own on this very page. Can you find it?

See, Dan Brown's got nothing on me.

12 October 2009


Another celebrity death and the vultures are circling.

On the afternoon of 10th October 2009, Boyzone member Stephen Gately was found dead at his home in Majorca at the age of 33.

I was never a Boyzone fan, and when Stephen was allowed to help Ronans weirdly affected vocalisations, he just came across as nasal and tuneless to me, but that's not going to alter the way I feel about his death.

I care, but I don't care.

I care in the sense that I needed to find out. He was in the public eye, so It's only right we should be informed if he's passed away, particularly as it was so sudden and unexpected.

I don't care to be updated as the headline news on every channel and newspaper. Ghoulish reporters hanging around airports waiting for the rest of the band to arrive so they can elbow their way into their grief so we can all have a gawp. Looking for any tell tale signs that anyone is not surprised.

That maybe there was some dark secret that we didn't know about, and it's not really a surprise to those who knew him.

But those who did know him (and there are loads on Twitter) all say he was a sweet, charming man, who didn't do drugs, and was no party animal. He was in a happy loving relationship with his long term partner. The police say there are no signs of foul play, yet still, the vultures circle closer and closer....

'He'd spent the evening at a gay club with a Bulgarian man' the media scum inform us, allowing us to fill in the blanks that it was probably some bizarre gay sex game gone wrong.

If they'd just reported that he'd spent the evening in a club with his partner and a friend, it would have been far less scandalous, but equally true. He was found in his pyjamas, not naked wearing a gimp mask.

We really don't need hourly updates as to whether Boyzones private jet has landed yet, or list in The Daily Telegraph of - and I kid you not - '10 other mysterious celebrity deaths'.

What we need to do is give his family and friends the time and privacy to grieve for a young man tragically taken before his time.

The remit of the news should be to inform us of important world events, not pray on the private misery of others because it sells papers and advertising space. If I wanted regular updates, I can get them on line from any number of websites. The 'News' should be just that. News. Not voyeurism.

There will continue to be speculation until the post mortum is carried out and results splashed over every media outlet. Irrespective of what it shows, I don't think we need to know any anymore than it was just too early.

For anyone who would argue that there's no smoke without fire, and people don't 'just die' at 33, it's a sad fact that sometimes they do, just not always people that the fucking media can make a buck out of.

R.I.P. Stephen Gately. 17 March 1976 - 10 October 2009

05 October 2009

What would you do?

What would you do with free texts for life?

  • Start a revolution?
  • Organise a massive pillow fight?
  • Do a conga?
  • Have massive fights for days?
  • Or is it just too mind boggling...
It's mind boggling for me why anyone would even want or need free texts for life (for only £10 a month....), yet this is what T-Mobile are offering an another of their piss poor irritating adverts.

And the suggestions above are what the shitty jobbing actors real people interviewed thought they would do.

Now why on earth would limitless free texts make you want to start a revolution? Maybe the twat in question already has a revolution planned, but lacks the means to co-ordinate it without exceeding his monthly tariff. Now with his massive free allocation for only £10 a month he can text his plans to everyone in the world on his SIM card, which could be either 200 or 500 potential people depending on his phone, but more realistically the 20 people he actually knows the number for, which once you discount his Mum, Takeaway restaurants and Taxi firms, is just three people. All in 160 characters or less..


It's probably why the peasants revolt failed in 1381. No mobile phones. 'RICHARD OF WALLINGFORD IS A LYING CNUT. WAT TYLER HAS NOT BEEN KNIGHTED, THEY'VE CUT HIS EFFING HEAD OFF. STORM STEPNEY!!!!'

But now all the fucking peasants have got mobile phones, so surely it's just a matter of time?

Or not.

Because I believe texting is a dying fad. A waste of time and money. How often have you got half way through typing something out only to think 'Fuck me, it would be easier to just ring them?'. 'I can't fit everything I want to put on the text any way, and depending on the response, I'll only have to text them back. This could turn a 20 second conversation into a 20 minute one, just trying to establish if a friend is coming to the pub, if so, then which pub, and when..'

Texts are restrictive in length, clog up your phone, and once you delete them to make space, they're gone for ever.

If I need to send a message that can be read (directions, shopping lists, plans for invading France etc..), I'll send an email. All modern phones come with email capability. Sending an email is free, and you can read it on your phone, or any PC. What's more, you never run out of storage space, as it's backed up for life in 'The Cloud'. And you can fill your message planning global domination with links to useful websites on how best to co-ordinate your attacks, and your clothes.

I already have a bundle of texts on my phone contact, and I never get anywhere close to using them, because I nearly always ring, or email.

But if I had free texts for life (for £10/month), what would I do with them?

Probably text T-Mobile every day to call them cunts with the shittiest adverts in the world.

What would you do?

01 October 2009

Pull your trousers up

Walking through town yesterday evening Mrsslippy and I had the misfortune of being stuck behind some arsehole who was intent on showing it to us.

He probably thought he looked really cool, but to the 36 year old me, he just looked like a twat.

Having lost a bit of weight recently, I have found myself constantly having to hitch some trousers up. It's fucking annoying, so a belt is called for at all times.

I'm not ashamed of my pants. In fact I've got some great pants that I'd love to show everyone, but could really not be doing spending my entire time preventing them from dropping to my knees by carefully pulling them up, but only by a couple of centimeters so everyone can still see the ferocious Hulk defending my arse crack.

All this whilst walking with some affected tilt of the head, roll of the shoulders, and semi Jamaican patoire that just doesn't sound right from a whitey from Cambridge. It just screams out 'I AM A PRETENTIOUS CUNT' even louder.

I assume twats that wear their jeans like this want to emulate the gangsta style of American rappers, and are vaguely aware that it's history lies in the prison system.

'Yeah' there clothes say. 'I'm dangerous. I've done time, that's why my trousers hang half way down my arse'.

'I've spent time in the big house, and to let my fellow big housemates know that I was up for some big fun, I'd dress like this'.

'Yep, my ringpiece is an open door for anyone who wants to..........oh now just hang on a minute. Is this really what I want to say with my attire?'

Apparently so. There is the alternative camp that says the low slung trousers mean your belt was taken away in prison to stop you killing your self, but the first camp is ...well...,just more camp. Either way, if I can see your pants, it either means you're suicidal, or the local bicycle.

How can we stop arseholes from not covering their arseholes?

Two ways as far as I can tell;

Firstly, you could creep up behind them, shiv them, then violently violate them anally under the assertion that you believed they were sexually available, and therefore gagging for it.

Secondly - and probably more fun, is with chocolate Matchmakers. Any flavour will do, but if you can get hold of the new blackcurrant ones,they will probably work best. When you see a twat with trousers halfway down his buttocks, clean white Calvin Kleins on display, simply take a Matchmaker from the box and slide it down the cleft, between pant and trow, leaving a couple of inches protruding. They should be narrow enough to slip in un-noticed, and within a matter of moments the pristine stick will have transmogrified into a streak of brown sludge.

I have yet to test the melting properties of the blackcurrant ones, but am hopeful that the little crystalline fragments will create some kind of deep red stain amongst the fresh skiddy that would make it oh so more alluring on the eye.

Feel free to try with a finger of fudge, or a Twix, but I don't think the biscuit or caramel will disperse with any degree of speed or satisfaction. A Wispa might melt pretty quickly and efficiently, but could be a bit chunky to slip in without being noticed.

Or if you really want, I suppose you could go for both options, and just anally rape them with a Snickers.

Just make sure its a big one.

27 September 2009

Out geeked

I've been out geeked by Mrsslippy.

During the summer, upon seeing Gingerfeck and I using Latitude to work out that we were sat opposite each other in a beer garden, she decided it was time to upgrade her own phone into something a bit more technical.

I use a smartphone running Windows mobile, as I needed to be able to synchronise it with my Outlook diary at work. Due to added geekery, it will now also talk to Google Calender, which talks to my Outlook at home, which in turn talks to my ipod, so entering an appointment on any one of them will result in it turning up everywhere, so no excuses for missing anything (other than birthdays which have not been put in any of them - oops - sorry Mum).

Mrsslippy doesn't need to sync with Outlook, as she keeps her electronic diary in Google, so didn't need a Windows phone.

Blackberrys are a bit too business function led, so not one of those.

iPhones may look cool, and have loads of 'apps', but (unless you, dear reader, own one) can make you look like a bit of a pretentious cock, which Mrsslippy is not.

So upon my insistence advice she got an HTC Magic, the reasons being;

  1. My phone, although running Windows, was made by HTC, and works well
  2. Operates on Google Android, so integrates seamlessly with her email, diary, maps etc..
  3. Has thousands of 'apps' available from Android Market, many of which are free.
  4. It's not an iPhone
After an initial period of frustration at not instantly knowing how to use all the functions on it despite not having even read the quickstart guide, let alone the full manual, she seems to growing increasingly fond of the ability to play Bejewelled, check Twitter and Facebook, and see where she is on a map. She can even use it for Spotify - millions of songs instantly streamed to your phone....

Her greatest application find recently is My Tracks. Not only does this GPS software track your current position along the same lines as Latitude, it also stores all the data which can then be uploaded to Google.

So last week while we were wandering around Cornwall, Mrsslippys phone was following our every move, and analysing it....

So on Monday 14th September we left Little Tolmennor Barn at 09:49 am to walk to Penzance, via St Michaels Mount.

The walk to St Michaels took 7 hours 4 mins, but we were only moving for 5 hours 9 mins, having stopped to have sandwiches on the way, and a cream tea in Marazion.

Our average moving speed was 2.3 mph, and despite the highest point we reached being only 194m, due to the ups and downs of the route we ascended a total of 611m, covering a distance of 11.9 miles.

After waiting an hour for the tide to go out so we could walk along the normally submerged pathway back off the mount, we carried on the 3.5 miles to Penzance at an average speed of 2.5 mph, where upon we collapsed into the first pub we could find to fill up on beer and dinner.

We got a taxi back to the cottage.

You can see the route we took here and here, with all the statistical details popping up if you click on the red marker at the ends of the routes. You can even view it in Google Earth, and tilt the camera angle to see all the uppy and downy bits. It really is quite bizarre looking at the red line it's traced and remembering stopping to sit on rocks that you can see on a satellite photo.

Mrsslippy is now using it all the time, and can easily tell you the distance and average speed of anywhere we go, by foot, car or train.

And I can tell you with out the assistance of any electronic assistance that Mrsslippy walked a grand total of 50 meters yesterday. Five times to the kitchen, and four to the bathroom. Bloody geeks and gadgets eh?

Who needs 'em

30 August 2009

May Contain Nuts

I just ate a very tasty lemon mousse from Tesco.

Whilst chowing down, I noticed the 'Allergy advice' label on the side.

It came as no surprise that it contained milk, and that it was quite proud of the fact that it contained no nuts....or sort of...

Because although it says that the recipe is nut free, it cannot guarantee that the ingredients do not contain nuts, which seems a bit fucking random.

I'm not very good at following recipes myself. If I'm making a curry, I see a recipe as more of a guide, so if I want to chuck in some cashews, I will. What I don't want is some numb nuts providing their own ingredients if they're making something that really shouldn't contain them.

Where would it end? Can we expect to find sausages in our Frosties? "Yeah, they're not in the recipe dude, but I think I may have left some in the ingredients..." I sincerely hope not.

Perhaps most disturbing on the label, is underneath the 'Ingredients' disclaimer, where it says 'Factory - Product made in nut free area, but nuts used elsewhere'.

So the whole reason there may be nuts in the mousse, is because there are nuts elsewhere in the factory.

I assume they have a toilet somewhere in the factory, so drawing on the same logic, there is also statistically the same chance that there is some human shit in my mousse.

And a few pubes.

I realise the reason they do it is to 'protect' people with nut allergies by informing them of the infinitesimally small chance that there may be some in the food, hereby preventing them from suing if the have a reaction, or just not being able to eat anything because every single product in the world now contains a warning that there may be some nut residue in it.

Fortunately, I'm not allergic to nut products, but would have a pretty fucking serious reaction if I found out that I was consuming the product of someones nuts if they decided to have a crafty wank in the toilets on their break.

So lets just see a bit of common sense. Firstly, we don't need nut warnings on bags of nuts. Its pretty fucking clear that they may contain nuts.

And let's not have warnings on stuff that has as much chance of containing nuts as it does light bulbs, toilet paper, and the contents of the stationary cupboard, just because they are used elsewhere in the factory

The mousse I just ate had as much chance of containing nuts as it did containing shit, and I'm sure it contained neither.

My shit on the other hand probably contains mousse and nuts - just in case you were planning on eating it, because I'm not planning on labeling it....

29 August 2009

Advert Hell

Maybe I'm just the wrong demographic, but if I'm watching a TV show, then I'd like to think that advertisers would be savvy enough to think that there is something synonymous with their product and the show, that I would be interested in their tatt, and even more so by the clever way they've pitched them at me.

But I increasingly find myself not only being bemused at the wierd stuff that is being pimped at me - why would anyone watching The Big Bang Theory be in the market for an over 50's cruise? - but also angry at the visual effluent that is being shat into my eyes.

My top offenders in worst adverts on TV at the moment are...

Glade - Poo at Pauls

Just what is it that makes Pauls toilet so fucking special? It can't be just the fresh smell. If this petulant little brat was in anyway self concious about his shitting habits, he wouldn't be so insistent as to where he parked his breakfast. Maybe we should ask Pauls Dad? Or maybe we shouldn't.....

Go Compare - Fat bloke sings

Clearly jealous that Compare the Market have a cult following for their little meerkat, they've tried to jump on the bandwagon. Only with nothing in their name to make use of, some fuckwit at the ad agency has suggested getting some fat bloke to just sing it over and over again. The joke? He's a tenor, which sounds a bit like tenner. And what has that got to do with the product? Fuck all. He just looks like a cheap Mr Creosote rip off. There's a Facebook fangroup for him, only I suspect it was made up and populated by employees of the company to try to make it look cool. It does not. FAIL.

T-Mobile - All of them

I don't think it's possible to make a mobile phone advert that I will like, and you can guarentee if I see any that contain some type of mass gathering of arseholes singing in unison, it will make me do a little bit of sick in my mouth. Phones are useful things. You can call your mates to see if they're down the pub, bring up a map to find your way there, and Google the answer to whatever useless bit of trivia you end up arguing over. They will not bring about World Peace or end poverty. Particuarly not at the rates that some of them charge for services. Ads that show groups of hip young things tearing around having fun, phones in hands should be replaced with groups sat around in silence, staring blankly at their little screens while they try to work out for to Bluetooth a shit version of Black Eyed Peas already shit song to each other.

Tampax Pearl

Gaudy Posh wannabe lounges around, all dressed in white, until Mother Nature turns up with the gift in a 'red box'.

Ha fucking ha....was that even intentional?

And why pearl? When I thingk of pearls my mind turns to oysters, not bearded clams. Or maybe pearl necklaces. Interesting fact - despite what you might think a pearl necklace is you're probably wrong. It does not refer to a glittery chain of goo around a womens throat, but playing the pink oboe. The pearls in question are the pearly whites of the giver of the gift, around the neck of a cock. Any blokes reading - if you're ever asked if you've given someone a pearl necklace - you might want to reconsider your answer.

Peugeot 308

An advert so awful that I couldn't even remember the car it was sellling. I had to Google 'shit smug car advert', and what do you know, it was hit number 6. It's supposed to be Drive sexy, but the only thing I feel driven to do is smash his smug face in. We'll take that kid from the Glade advert and have him poo all over the cunts noir car.

There are many, many more that get my goatbut these are the worst culprits.

Which adverts annoy you, and why?

23 August 2009

Business skills

Mrs Slippy has gone to the V Festival, so while the cat is away, the mice will play.

Or will they? Mice don't really 'play' do they? In the absence of cats, they generally eat everything in the cupboard, and shit everywhere.

Squeak squeak...

And whilst not eating and shitting, I am mostly watching the cricket, with Twitter and Facebook streaming in two separate windows on the laptop, and another one open onto which I am typing.

I've also taken some time out to ensure that I will be able to watch the Premiership on the computer if England haven't finished the job by 4 o'clock. I may even bring the portable tv into the living room too so I can watch the Grand Prix as well.

Who says men can't multi-task?

It is probably the business skills of multi-tasking, prioriting, and forward planning that have made me the success I am today.

Never were these skilled called more into play than back in 1998, when I was still a young man, finding my way in the World, and taking sometime out from my hectic business life to enjoy a couple of weeks holiday in Spain with some old school friends.

Nothing like a group of eight young professionals sharing a villa on the Costa del Sol to relieve the strains of day to day life in the UK. The cat wasn't away, but the mice were.

Maybe open a bottle of wine in the evening, and listen to the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore, or find a local bar and enjoy one or two local beers while making friends with the locals.

Chilled and relaxed.

One evening the others wanted to go and visit the local 'Discotheque'. I wasn't really feeling up to it myself. Probably just a bit of a combination of too much sun, and a rich Mediterranean diet, but my guts were gone to hell.

Not wanting to let the others down, I fought the cramping pains and agreed to join them. It was the last night, and so we'd probably earned a few drinks.

The club was only small. It wasn't a big resort, so it really was just the locals place to go and enjoy a night out, not some mega club. We were the only English there, and the bar staff seemed pretty pleased to have us there, with lots of very large, very free drinks.

It soon became apparent that my guts were not going to hold out. Nobody in their right mind enjoys taking a shit in someone else's toilet (except that freaky kid on the TV who wants to 'do a poo at Pauls', which I'm sure must be urban slang for something altogether sinister), but sometimes needs must.

As I said, a small club, so only a small toilet. Fortunately I hadn't started relaxing too much as I burst into los servicios. I knew that despite the urgency of the matter in hand, if I didn't want matter in my hands, I couldn't afford to drop focus until I knew it was safe to drop the kids off.

I was right to do that. A quick visual check told me there was only one cubical, and there was no paper in it. No hand towels next to the sink either meant back to he bar. I'd clocked a pile of napkins at the end of it - those would do.

As I walked round, my hand slipped up and grabbed the small pile without breaking stride, nor attracting attention.

Back in the cubicle I was hit by problem number 2 with my problem number 2.

There was no lock on the door, and it was so badly hung, it wouldn't stay shut on it's own.

And it was about 5 feet away from the seat....

Try it yourself. Sit down and see how far forwards you can reach. Unless you are;

a) an orang-utan
b) Andrew Marr
c) Dave Beasant

then I can pretty much guarantee that door is swinging open on you.

So we have priority decision time number one. Privacy, or accuracy?

If you can lean forwards enough that you can apply some pressure on the door, with your arse pointing in the general direction of the toilet (and trousers removed for added safety), then surely that is the better option than sitting and shitting, door wide open looking cold and clammy as every Juan, Luis y Fernando walks in?

I thought so.

As it turned out, removing my trousers was not required, as it was not the ground beneath me that was the high risk area. Nope, I had completely misjudged the level of pressure which had built up in my guts, and rather that 'falling short' in the gap between myself and the seat, I completely overshot with hot, liquid filth.

As I was leaning over so far, I was practically horizontal, and the wall behind the toilet now looked like someone had been at it with an industrial muck spreader.

I looked down at the small pile of drinks napkins in my hand, back at the 2 foot circle of evil on the wall (that was fast growing as gravity pulled it down to the ground), and peeped through a gap in the door to check I was still alone in there.

I was.

Priority decision number 2. I had a small pile of napkins and needed to clean;

a) My arse
b) The wall

A quick bit of 'quantity surveying' left me quite sure that I did not have enough napkins to clean both. Even if I made a rush job of my arse, the wall would need some serious attention. The longer I took thinking or cleaning, the greater the risk that someone would walk in on me.

The decision was simple. Why clean two jobs badly when you can clean one job well?

I cleaned myself with napkins to spare, but any attempt to start on the wall would have been futile. Best to just drop the lot and run before someone saw me.

So run I did, and I'm pretty sure I got away with it.

And it was there that I learned my most important dirty business skill. You don't always have to clean up your own shit, you just need to make sure nobody saw you do it, and none of it's stuck to you.

Now back to the Cricket/Football/Grand Prix/raiding the cupboard.

After I've had another shit.

19 August 2009

Farcical Football

Canary (noun) definitions-
1) - Small yellow bird sent down mines to test the quality of the air before the big boys get going. Any sign of danger, gets in a flap, curls up and dies.
2) - Small yellow team sent down divisions to test the quality of the football. Any signs of danger, gets in a flap, pisses in goals, and curls up and dies.

Depending on what flavour you take your football, you could be anywhere between one and three games into your season.

It's early doors, but they're doors that someone has pissed on, superglued the lock, and shoved shit through the letterbox.

I really have the deepest sympathy with my Naardge friends. When you let in enough goals on the first day of the season to almost start needing to use the fingers on the other webbed hand, things are not good.

Only one thing to do when you get beaten 7-1 by Colchester. Nick their manager. I can't help but wonder if Paul Lambert will still be happy with his decision at the end of the season, with the U's continuing their undefeated start tonight, and Norwich losing again.

Elsewhere in the Premiership, we see Tottenham top after beating Liverpool in the opener, and spanking Hull 5-1 tonight, who themselves didn't look that bad against Chelsea - the only other team to have won 2 from 2. Several have still only played the once, but Man Utd somehow managed to get beaten by Burnley tonight, so no perfect start from them, nor points for me from their players.

It's playing merry hell with my Fantasy Team. Whilst picking Jolene Joleon Lescott seemed like a good idea pre season, what with him being touted by Man City, he helped Everton let in 6 goals at the weekend, has been refused a transfer, and has now been dropped following an incident involving a pram, some toys, and a passable Monty Panessar impersonation.

Most importantly of all, Grimsby have got off to a typically heroic start, with three straight defeats. This puts me in a great position to slag off or take the piss out of any other team in the league, because there is nothing that anyone can say or do that can make anything worse that what we are doing to ourselves.

Yazz would say 'the only way is up'. Not true. Okay, we can't move very far in the downwards direction for several months, but after that, there's a fucking huge drop.

At least there's still some Cricket to be enjoyed. I completely expect England to win the last Ashes Test, and therefore retain that magic little urn. And we've got tickets to one of the one dayers to look forward to as well.

But after that it's just the slow inevitability of the days getting colder, the nights drawing in, and Saturday afternoons of despair and despondency as nothing goes right.

Roll on World Cup 2010.

12 August 2009

On and on and on....

Greek mythology tells us of Sisyphus, a King punished by the ancient Gods to forever push a boulder to the top of a mountain. Once at the top it would roll back down, and he would be forced to start again.

Pretty stupid if you ask me. You'd think after the first couple of times he'd say "You know what Zeus? Fuck you. This is pointless. I ain't pushing no boulder no more. It's staying right the fuck where it is. You want it at the top? You do it you big beardy cock. This is the very definition of futility".

"No" would say Zeus. "This is the definition of a Sisyphian task. I have named it especially for you, and from this day forth, anyone who finds themselves in an endless task will for ever think of you."

"No" would say Sisyphus "From this day forth they will most likely think of the Forth Bridge, and the endless task of painting it".

"If that is so, it is because they are uneducated wankers, with no knowledge of Greek mythology" Zeus would reply. "I believe man will always remember your name, and the toils it suggests".

"Prove it dickwad.."

"I will! In 3000 years time, when work is done by machines powered by lightning, and the sky's are filled with rain even in the middle of summer, I shall pick a man and a task, and see if he remembers you.....now back to your boulder monkey man."

*****cue lots of wavy lines to signify the passing of time*****

Cheers for that Zeus.

Every day when I feel like I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel, of the bottom of my pile of papers, someone drops another stack on top, and I'm back staring at the computer screen, repeating the same action over and over.

It may not be a back breaking, blister breeding boulder, but I have worn a little hole on my wrist from the same repetitive movements with the mouse.

And when I look at that wound, I think of Sisyphus.

But not because I am not an uneducated wanker. My knowledge of Greek mythology is rudimentary at the best, but I do remember Sisyphus. Not because I studied it at school, but because I was fortunate enough be exposed to the fantastic 'Ulysees 31' as a child.

An early 80's Franco-Japanese anime series, it transposed the story of Ulysees/Odyseus to the 31st century, where our brave hero travelled the Universe in a spaceship with only his irritating son, a blue alien, and a little gay robot for company. The rest of the crew being dead, and hanging around in suspended animation until he can find 'the Kingdom of Hades'.

Each week he would encounter another character from Greek mythology, all whilst dressed like one of the Bee Gees in a space suit. And thus my education in 'the classics' would be complete.

In Episode 5 (of 24), he met the erstwhile Sisyphus. I know this as FACT because Mrsslippy managed to find the boxset on ebay last year. For those of you who have never seen it, or it is just a distant memory, you're in for a treat. Here's the entire Sisyphus episode courtesy of YouTube.

So next time you think you're stuck with a never ending task, just sing the theme tune, and everything will be alright.

Altogether now, Ulysees, Ul-y-se-ees. Soaring through all the gal-ax-ee-heees....

10 August 2009

I made you this...

More musical musings today.

After reading several good reviews on line, I decided that I was long overdue having a closer look at Spotify

Streaming music really has come a long way. Spotify has a library of 3.8 million tracks, and although there are apparently some big artists missing, it found everything I was looking for. And unlike iTunes where you can listen to just an excerpt from a track before deciding if you want to buy it, with Spotify you can listen to the whole song - hell, you can listen to the whole album.

You can queue up tracks to play, or just create playlists that you can listen to again and again, or send to others via Facebook or by sending the URL.

What you can't do, is copy the music onto a CD or mp3 player. But if you're just sat at home and fancy listening to Now! 72, then you can. If you can tolerate a short advert every 4 or 5 songs, it's completely free. If that bothers you, you can pay 99p for an advert free day, or a tenner a month to never hear an advert again. WIN.

If you're a bit geeky like me, you can hook up your computer to the surround sound, and it's like having your own radio station with 3.8 million tracks at hand.

But that's not the real selling point for me, it's the ability to make playlists and distribute them by the wonder of teh interwebs.

It's the mix tape of the future.

I don't have to sit by an old tape deck, patiently listening to each song as it copies. A pile of other music sat next to the stereo waiting it's turn to be added. Carefully writing the tracklist onto the cassette inlay, listening as you create. A mix tape was something special (or at least you hoped so), because there was a finite amount of space on the tape, everything had to be carefully selected. It had to be listened to in order, and you hoped the recipient understood that selection and creation took hours. It was special.

iTunes made things easier. I don't have to walk all the way to the shelves and start rummaging through CD's. Everything is already ripped to the hard drive. If I want to make a mix CD I just drag and drop files, and then burn it. You have to take a bit of consideration of how the recipient will play it. If they can play mp3s off a CD you can stick loads on, but if not, you're restricted to burning it at 78 minutes max.

But now there is Spotify.

And because I love you very much, I have made you a mixtape.

I like a good cover version, but am also quite partial to a bad one also, so on this very special mixtape you can expect to find a bit of both...

If you've never heard William Shatner and Joe Jacksons unique interpretation of Pulps 'Common People', you're in for a treat.

There are some pretty obvious ones. No mixtape of covers could be complete without Johnny Cash's haunting rendition of Nine Inch Nails 'Hurt'.

And there's stuff that is more famous in it's covered version that you may have never even heard the original - but that's not going to stop me chucking The Damneds 'Eloise' on.

And if you manage to stick it out to the end - get ready for Queensryche "doing" 'Scarborough Fair'. As I type Simon and Garfunkle must be busy digging themselves a shallow grave so they can dive in and have a damn good spin.

To listen to your mixtape, click here , and if you really love me, you could always make me one back.

Or just send one to someone you genuinely care about.

07 August 2009


I've still not got round to making any playlists for my iPod, and so can't trust it on shuffle yet, as it may play me something that's merely residing on it for a rainy day.

But I had forgotten that the newer ones come with built in 'Genius' to generate playlists for you based on the track you have selected.

It does this by comparing your library and purchasing habits with those of "other people", to suggest similar songs to the one you picked.

Other people......hmmmmm......

Other people are not to be trusted. It's "other people" that make Britain's Got Talent Britain's most watched show. It's "other people" that keep Duffy in Diet Coke and ridiculous leggings.

You've only got to go to "other peoples" houses and check out their CD collections to see what I mean. We all do it. First time we go to someones house we go straight to the music collection and start judging them - usually finding them lacking.

But iTunes reckons it knows so many other people, it must be able to use this knowledge to satisfy me on the way to work, so ok iPod, give it your best shot.

I headed out the door with Muses magnificent 'Knights of Cydonia'. I wanted wakey-wakey music, and that certainly fitted the bill. Six minutes and seven seconds later, it's time for the "Genius" to step up to the plate. 'Reptillia' by The Strokes blasts out.

So far so good. Not what I would have chosen for myself, but I like it, and it is in keeping with my general mood. So what will it throw at me next....

"'Map of the Problematique' by ..erm...Muse again." said the Genius

"Ok Genius, well worked out. It's even off the same album you fuckwit. I'll listen because I like it, but I was hoping for a bit more variety...now play me something else.."

"How about the super smashing 'Cherub Rock' from the super Smashing Pumpkins?" asked the Genius.

"Splendid" said I. "Now you're getting the idea. What's next?"

"I really think you want to hear a bit of 'Time is Running Out' said the Genius.

"Er..hang on. Isn't this just Muse again?"

"Yes, but it's off a different album. Different see? Variety!"

I was starting to suspect this Genius was a bit more Justin Hawkins than Steven Hawkin...

Yes Justin, that is a catchy tune, but isn't it just a little bit Queen rip off derivative, and basically what you just played me but ever so slightly different. Why can't you be more like Steven?

He knows what variety means, using his unique vocal stylings to maximum effect collaborating with artists as diverse as Radiohead (Fitter, Happier) and Daft Punk (Technologic) He was even Chers singing coach on 'Believe', for which I believe he also choreographed the video.

"Now do you get what I mean Genius?"

"I think so. You want something that matches the camp theatrics, killer 70's riffs and wailing vocals of Knights of Cydonia, not just lots more Muse?"

"Yes please."

"Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet?"


That is what I want Genius to to. To take something that I would never thing of playing myself, but matches my general ambiance, and brings a little grin of guilty pleasure to my face.

My next logical step would be to see how far I could push the Genius's logic, and try to get it to generate a chain that would get me as far away from where it started.

It would be a fair assumption that anyone who liked Knights of Cydonia would also like Ballroom Blitz, but since that hails from a long gone era (released 3 years before Muse's Matt Bellamy was even born!), it probably has fans that would have turned their noses up at some of the other 24 tracks on the Knights generated playlist - particularly Tenacious D's most tender and romantic 'Fuck her Gently'.

"So Genius. I like Ballroom Blitz. Find me 24 other songs like that one."

"Right you are sir. Anyone of these rather take your fancy?"

"Yes. ELO's 'Mr Blue Sky'. Got any more like that?"

"As a matter of fact I do. And I think you'll be particularly pleased with Supertramps 'Logical Song'"

"I would. Logical Song would be a logical step. Give me 24 songs like that one."

"You're the boss. Anything tickle your fancy?"

"I like a bit of Human League. Find me more like 'Don't you want me'."

"Madonna's 'Holiday'?"

"Ok - one last jump."

"Hit me Baby one more time?"

Yes - I think I will. I think I will hit you in your silly digital face. By trusting the listening habits of those pesky "other people", I have contrived by using playlists of only 25 songs, and 6 steps, to get from what is an undeniably a classic rock tune, to Britney. If I hadn't stopped there God only knows where it would have gone...

The fact that all the above songs are even on my iPod are inconsequential........

Next up I'm going to see how many steps it takes to get me from Ace of Spades to Ace of Bass. I bet I can do it in in less than 10, especially with the fucking retard at the controls.

I would have done it on the way home, but chose to listen to Geoff Boycott on Test Match Special instead.

Now he is a Genius.

I know he is, because the fucker never stops telling us.......