29 July 2009

The F word


F**k, f**k, f**kity f**k.

In a blatent rip off homage to the wondrously funny Tim Minchin, I could pontificate on the use of asterisks to hide letters in f**k.

Whether you print the missing letters or not, f**k still says f**k. It's what you say in your head when you see it written. It's hiding in plain site. There can't be a man or woman alive who doesn't know the true offensive nature of f**k.

So I'll type it, as offensive as it is to me.


Yep, it's the end of July, which for residents of my little corner of the world can mean only one thing, The Cambridge Folk Festival is upon us once again.

Gates open at 12 tomorrow, which means at 12:01 MY pub will be full of cocks festival goers, clogging the place up with beards and the smell of damp cardigans. Grumbling about the lack of real ales and a variety of ciders. True, MY pub doesn't hold a great selection of ales, but it is just a suburban Green King eatery, so there isn't much call for that sort of thing the other 51 weeks of the year.

Now before you accuse me of being narrow minded, I don't have a problem with Folk music per se. I don't really have a problem with any genres of music (except jazz). If it's got a good tune, or I can sing along then I'll listen to anything - it doesn't have to be pigeon holed into a genre. It just so happens that there are more guitar led grungy tunes that I can relate to than fiddly folky ones.

My ipod favourites playlist contains music from ABC to The Zutons, and everything inbetween. There's pop, goth, emo, rap, drum and bass, classical, metal, folk, blues, soul, and lots and lots of guitars. If I want something with a bit of a fiddle, you can't beat a bit of Gogol Bordello, although they would claim their music is gypsy-punk rather than folk. I'd rather listen to a bit of Simon and Garfunkel than Scouting for Girls anyday.

What truly offends me is the folk lifestyle. To every weirdy beardy who calls me a heathen for not 'getting' folk, I ask - "Did you get Kasabians latest CD? What do you think of Jamie Ts recent single? Will you be buying his album?"


Thought not. And nor will I be in the slightest bit interested in the majority of the performers at The Festival. Each to their own. I will not criticise your musical tastes, as I am not familiar with a lot of the acts who are performing, but I do know quite a few. Some of them I have even seen live, and bought music by. There are also those that I've seen on TV, whether it be Jools Holland or the Culture Show, and I just don't really like them. Wouldn't say they were shit, just does nothing for me.

So don't come round my manor, parking your camper van that's painted in flowers, and smells of something distinctly organic outside my gaffe, and "tut" at me for living so close but not taking advantage of such a "wonderful opportunity" on my doorstep.

Don't frown at me because I won't give up the table that I am hogging to myself to you and your bearded brethren just so you can warm yourselves up around a communal cup of coffee. I've been at work all day, and am enjoying a quiet, contemplative pint. If you are cold and wet, don't go fucking camping.

And stop moaning at the checkout people at Tescos Express when they run out of cider and portable barbecues. It's a local shop for local people. People who can't drive to the big Tesco rely on it for everyday provisions, so it's not going to be cleared of useful produce just so you can keep yourselves in Scrumpy and Linda McCartney sausages.

You can enjoy a type of music, or even several types of music without it becoming your raison d'etre, and then disapproving of anyone else who doen't share your touchy feely, new age olde worlde sensibilities

I did go once, many years ago and just on a sneaked under the fence day ticket. My resounding memory is of bokey warm cider. I'm not a big cider fan anyway, but this was pretty rank .

'Warm with real apple chunks' was it's alleged selling point.

If you've ever done a bit of sick in your mouth, but managed to hold it and re-swallow it, that's the experience you're looking at.

Body temperature, sweet and acidic, and little bits of food in it. Yum.

So I won't be going, but if you are, why not pass the time by playing a little game of 'I-spy at the Folk Festival'

  • Man in an Australian cork hat 1pt
  • 20 Men in straw hats 2pts
  • Dog on a string 3pts
  • Drunk person passed out on his own 2pts
  • Someone wearing a Folk Festival 2008 t-shirt 3pts
  • Someone wearing a pre 1972 t-shirt 10pts
  • 10 people with leather waistcoats 5pts
  • Skull on a stick 10pts
  • Woman dressed as a fairy 15pts
  • Child in spider-man face paint 3pts
  • Grown adult in spider-man face paint 15pts
  • Spider-man 100pts
  • Gandalf (or lookalike) 10pts
  • A waist length beard 5pts
  • A naked child with no sun protection (if sunny) 5pts
  • A clothed child with far too much sun protection (if cloudy) 5pts
  • A man with his 'lucky tankard' on a string round his neck 2pts
  • A woman who really should be wearing a bra under that top 3pts
  • Someone playing a penny whistle 3pts
  • Someone playing bongos on their own 5pts
  • Mark (Lard) Riley 5pts
  • Billy Bragg 20pts
  • Mike Harding 25pts
  • Slippymark 1,000,000 pts
So I'm stocked up on essentials for a weekend of seige mentality. All that's left for me to do is sprinkle some broken glass on the road outside the house, and I'm all ready for another F**k Festival.

27 July 2009

Spitting Images

In an ongoing theme where I extol the virtues of those clever, clever people at Google, I shall today be hammering on about their photo storage software, Picasa.

Downloaded to the desktop, not only is it a nicely functioning image viewer/editor, it also offers oodles of online storage where you can geotag your photos to see them on Google Earth, or just keep them safe and accessible for a rainy day.

The really clever bit is it's face recognition tool.

Upload an album in a couple of minutes, and it will find all the faces in the photos, and ask you to name them. It'll clump together faces that it thinks are of the same person, and is often frighteningly accurate, even if hair and makeup vary enormously from one picture to the other, which mine normally does.

The more you upload and name, the better it gets at it.

However, you often get people lurking in the background of your pictures, so it will still find the face, and have a stab at guessing who it is - even though it's nobody it's ever seen before.

I was starting to find it quite amusing as it suggested random strangers who look nothing like any of my friends might be someone I know, based on it's previous experiences.

So in the name of titting about science, I thought I'd chuck a few random photos at it, and see who it thinks it is.

First off, what better substitute for real friends, then plastic ones.

This is a picture of - from left to right - Lyndsey, Kat, Sam, Morph, Kay, and Tanya.

I don't know what's more puzzling from this. The fact that it thought the cast of Friends all look like girls (or at least girls that I know), or the fact that Ali has married a David Schwimmer lookalike. Ethicon on the other hand, has done alright for himself.

There must be a celebrity that looks like a male friend?

How about this fine fella?

It's not Dale Winton - it's Ethicon of course!

And who's this?

Sorry Timbo. It's you. Still in shock from NCFCs relegation I see.

This one?

No it's not Brucie, but neither (rather surprisingly since I was trying to stitch him up) is it the Gingerfeck. If you think you look more like Brucie than Ronan does, I think I'd keep very quiet about it. I know who it thinks it is, but I'm not saying either.

Suffice to say, it is neither me or Mrsslippy. There are so many photos of us saved to it, you could shoot me in the dark with a balaclava on and it'd still know who I am.

Have a go for yourselves. And if you find a picture of a dodgy celebrity that it thinks is me, please let me know. I'm thinking of branching out and setting up a lookalike agency.

Are you free to 'do' Graham Timbo? I'm sure he'd like it.

22 July 2009

R U bng SRVD?

You just got served. And pwnd.

Mrsslippy has gone to work for the night which means I am at a loose end, and lacking in adult supervision.

After sitting through the first half hour of Hellboy II, I decided that I was a wee bit restless, and needed some erstwhile stimulation.

Lurking by the TV is a copy of Dance Dance Revolution - a still boxed present for Mrsslippys birthday that we have yet to plug into the Wii.

Knowing her impatience with instruction manuals, I decided the gentlemanly thing to do would be to open it up 'just to check it works', and see how to navigate through the menus and suchlike.

Purely in the cause of scientific research of checking how sensitive the dance mat is, I thought it sensible to 'have a little dance'.

I'm pretty 'down with the kids', so dressed in true urban streetwise style of my shirt from work and just my pants, I took to the dance floor!

As N E fule no I am renowned world over for my shapes, and have won many a dance off, so it should be easy to recognise what I am dancing to.

So go on - can you tell? First correct answer get a private dance, just for them. I may even tape it so you can watch it again and again and again....

20 July 2009

You are what you eat

I've been most flattered recently by a number of people telling me that I have lost 'shedloads' of weight.

I am aware that I've gone down a couple of belt sizes, but the implication that I have lost shedloads kind of insinuates that my girth was once adequate to fill aforementioned shed, so maybe I should be offended. I believed that my gut was not shed sized, and would in fact struggle to fill our mini plastic Argos greenhouse.

I have moaned previously about feeling fat, and undeservedly so since I was walking more, and eating and drinking less, (but still having to disable the touch pad from my laptop as my overhang could move the cursor just by me breathing).

And even now my stomach is definitely more washbowl than washboard - so what kind of a monster was I?

I however hadn't really appreciated the size that I had become. If I knew my photo was being taken, I would probably breath in a bit. And when looking in the mirror, I wouldn't stand side on and let it all hang out, I'd just check the front, which can be deceptive....

It was only this weekend looking at Mum and Dads photos from Brazil that I truly took on board what I had done to myself.

The photo below is un-doctored, and taken without my knowledge.

If you look carefully you can probably just make out the contents of a small, but perfectly serviceable shed strapped around my midriff.

Due to the usefulness of the Wii balance board in weighing travellers carrying, and not carrying suitcases, I know that just before we flew out, I weighed 16 and a half stone.

Since I have been walking to work, and consuming slightly less pies and ale, the Wii now reckons I weigh less than 15 stone. Still overweight, but at least no longer bordering on obese.

Without going to the gym (ever - I've never even stepped foot in one), or consciously dieting I've lost over a stone and a half. I still get two sausages with a large portion of chips from the van that parks outside Slippytowers every Saturday. I still eat bacon sandwiches for breakfast every Sunday. I can demolish a packet of gingernuts before the first crumbs have had time to hit the floor, and have become quite keen on melting marshmallows and/or chocolate to glue together cornflakes or rice crispies, and then eating them before they've even set properly.

Yet I'm losing weight....

To try to get it into perspective, I've tried to visualise what the 24lbs/11kg I've lost actually looks like, so in true (not a real) Dr. Gillian McKeith style, I have lost the equivalent of...

A 24 tinned crate of ale. I'd rather it was Broadside, but they only do that in 4 packs, so it would be 6 of those.

Or, 32 packets of mucky Richmond sausages.

The thought of not having 384 low quality sausages secreted about my person makes me feel very positive, and I think I still might like to lose a few more. I don't even have to do any thing different - just carry on, and let nature take it's course.

Talking of which, would anyone also like to see a picture of my poo?

Thought not.....

14 July 2009

A little bit gay

63% Hetero

Along with writing a Blog of mine very own, I also subscribe to several others. It's easy peasy Japanesey. I use 'Reader' from those oh so clever people at Google, and whenever someone posts something new, they all get sent to my Reader page via an RSS feed, and I can sit and peruse the less important things in the world while drinking my morning coffee.

One such Blog belongs to Andrew Collins, journo, and collaborator with Richard Herring on the highly amusing and often wholly innapropriate Collings and Herrin Podcast

Today, Andrew was encouraging Twitter users to check out a website that would check their heterosexuality, based on words used in their tweets. Andrew was a very effete 34%, due to words such as 'Karaoke', 'Fame', 'Cottaging', and rather bizarrely, 'Northampton'.

Got to be worth a go, and as you've no doubt guessed, I am a very metrosexual 63% .

Words that I use too often to stop me being 100% real man were; 'bum', 'shop', 'good work', 'drag', and 'master'.

You don't have to be a Twitter user, just know the name of a Twitter user in order to check, so next up comes Mrsslippy - but apparently she doesn't use 'cliche' words so it couldn't score her.

What, like that old cliche, "Northampton"?

Gingerfeck, it turns out, also doesn't use cliche words so couldn't be scored.

My next favourite current Twitterer is none other than Mr Cricket himself, David 'Bumble' Lloyd. I've only recently discovered that Bumble likes nothing more than to listen to a bit of The Fall, or Inspiral Carpets on his way to work. What a top man - but is he a ladies man or a ladyboy?

Bumble rather impressively scores an 81%, let down by using words like 'brilliant', 'pink', and 'biscuit', and talking about Shirley Bassey.

So I'm more of a man than Andrew Collins, and less so than Bumble. I'd best check some of the interwebs top tweeters and see if these scores are representative of the population as a whole, and what words mark you down....

Jimmy Carr? 75% 'Bender', 'pride'

Mike Skinner? 54% 'Coming out', 'sauna'

Andi Peters? 33% 'Gym', 'Bruno'

Philip Schofield? 53% 'Milk', 'Madonna'

Jonathon Ross? 63% 'Another way'

Chris Moyles? 60% 'Body', 'bits'

Stephen Fry? 56% 'Opera', 'bitch'

Richard Bacon 39% 'Available'

So there you have it. Bumble is officially the manliest man on Twitter.

Jimmy Carr is more macho then me, but he's the only other one. Me and Jonathan Ross are snuggled up together with matching manbags on 63%.

Stephen Fry is more hetero than Phillip 'Mr Ice Dancing' Schofield and Mike 'The Streets' Skinner. Dry your eyes mate.

And finally, coming up everyone's rear, it's Andi 'Broom Cupboard' Peters......who'd have guessed that one.

Hours of fun - but only if you're on Twitter. Go on. Sign up. How else are you going to find out that Andi Peters might be ever so slightly a whoopsie?

12 July 2009

Mrsslippys birthday boozing

Funniest thing I heard on Friday.

A complete stranger says - "You know what I really hate about Gays? They're always having fucking parades and shit. How come we never get parades? We should have a parade just for us - for white people...."


A man so hateful and stupid that in his drunken ranting towards anyone who was listening, or earshot of his shouting, that he completely forgot whether he was trying to be homophobic, or just plain racist.

So that can only mean one thing, I'm out on the tiles suffering the intelligentsia and bar room philosophers that frequent the bars of this fair city....

Not normally my bag, town on a Friday. I don't really even like our local on a Friday night. Too busy. Too many amateurs and arseholes, ruining my gentle slide into inebriation with their mockney chavery, gangsta low slung jeans, and wanky R&B ringtones. Screeching chavettes in matching jewellery/makeup/sports gear combinations.

But every once in a while, or to be more precise, once in a year, Mrsslippy has a birthday, and gets carte blanche to do anything, with I just blanch at the prospect of bars that don't serve ale, and 'nightclubs'.....

The evening started well. Meet up with the others at The Fort St. George and sit outside in the sunshine/sunlight. Yep. Definitely sunlight. If it was shining it would have been warmer. But still very pleasant.

I like the Fort, but do have two issues with it.

Firstly, size. It has an enormous outside seating area, that can easily cater for a few hundred people on its many, many benches. This is however counter balanced with only 2 bars. One 4 foot wide, the other about 8 foot. This woefully inadequate space is then staffed by 4 people, who may often be highly skilled, but certainly weren't on Friday. The queues at each bar where generally about a dozen people deep, and getting served took in excess of 25 minutes each time. Not assisted by the fact that the staff seemed incapable of pouring more than one drink at a time. Tell you what. If you're standing watching that lager tap, why not stick a glass under the other one at the same time. Or find out what the next people in the queue are drinking? You might be able to fil that coke glass while that Stella's still dribbling out, completely unassisted. Also the toilets so small that if the urinals are all in use (which they will be with all those people sat outside), in order to not stand so close to the man in front that you are practically spooning him while he has his cock out, you instead stand so close to the automatic hand dryer that it blows a Saharan wind down your arse crack.

Secondly, it's the clientele. It certainly lacks the chavs of the local, but unfortunately has taken a step too far in the other direction. Whilst queueing for drinks, I had to listen to the prattle of some bint questioning the licensing laws that prevented Felicity and Christian from bringing young Peter into the bar area, as it was getting a bit chilly for him with his asthma. Tell you what Felicity and Christian, fuck off home with young Peter, and only bring him back when he's either a) old enough to come into the grown ups only area, or b) has grown a pair, and is not so fucking fragile that Mummy and Daddy need to wrap him in cotton wool.
There were posh twats, trendies, and weird Americans.

Second funniest thing I heard that night, an American, saying to his friend with absolutely no irony or sarcasm "hey, there's no point at us both queuing at separate bars, why don't we consolidate beverages?".


You fucking morons. "Get my round for me" not "consolidate fucking beverages".

Only safe thing to do, when at the bar, get a tray, and rack up some spares. Once consumed, move closer 'into town'.

The place of choice, the B Bar (or is that BeBar, or even Bee Bar?), and that was the place I heard the twat at the top of this tale. They had one ale, which was off. Would they allow that to happen to a lager? I doubt it. I think they are just trying to stop people like me going there, which is fine for people like me, except once a year, I do have to go there. Never mind. I can tolerate wife beater, and a few pints of that thrown into the mix would surely only brighten up mine, and therefore everyone else's evening. In fact it was doing such a good job of altering my conscious and perceptions of normal Slippymark behaviour, before I really knew what was going on, I was paying my way into The Fez Club.....

Shit. How did that happen? I was in a night club.

Definitely no ale here, so I believe I was drinking something with a slice of lime wedged in the top, but I really couldn't say what. My resounding memories are of Gingerfeck doing his usual special (needs) dancing, people that looked like they'd escaped from a Hollyoakes/Skins fancy dress party, and a terrible, terrible smell.

I can say with confidence that I have not been clubbing since I gave up smoking, and probably not since it was made illegal in public spaces, so I had always been pretty oblivious in my ruined olfactory system, or the fug of others fags. What I never realised was, take that away, and what you are left with is not the heady mix of a thousand fragrances, fresh from Boots.

No, what you get is the acrid stench of thousand rancid boots, shoes and trainers, and a thousand strangers stale armpits.

Got to go, got to get out, got to get a Kebab....

Thankfully, and thank Katieluv, she was ready to leave, and wanted to get food, and could give myself and the birthday girl a lift home.


Gardenias was only a short stroll away, and not too busy, once you negotiated the drunkard who had fallen on the floor in front of the counter.

Then came a spot of luck - for Katieluv anyway, or so I thought.

There, on the ground near Gardenias was a shiny, brand spanking new looking mobile phone. Katieluv was unsure what to do with it, but to me it was pretty obvious.

"Sell it" said I."It's very new looking - you could probably get at least £50 quid on t'internet"

"No" says Katieluv "it's someone's phone!"

On closer inspection, it appeared to be the same model, but a couple of upgrades up from Mrsslippys.

"Give it to Mrsslippy" I encouraged. "It exactly the same as the one she's got, except only newer, shinier, and better.

"No" says Mrsslippy, "I don't want it".

"Then you have to sell it" says I. They're probably a cock anyway if they're drunk enough to lose a lovely new phone on a Friday night. They don't deserve a phone".

At this point Katieluv started checking the contacts and messages, to see who it might belong to.

"Look at his mates names" I shouted, getting quite indignant now. "He is clearly a cock, and should have his phone either sold, or just thrown away. It's Karma. He was meant to lose it, you were meant to find it".

"No", says Katieluv. "He's got his mums name in there, he can't be that bad".

Not true. I have my mums name in my phone, and after a dozen or so pints of ale, wifebeater, and stuff with limes in it, I am most definitely a cock.

So Katieluv took us home, and kept the phone safe for the night, to ponder on it's fate the following day. I don't know what she's done with it yet, but I do know that it woke her up at stupid o'clock with a shitty ring tone, because she woke me up at stupid o'clock to tell me, and ask what the Karma was telling her then.

So if you are a cock and you lost your phone on Friday, Katieluv has it.

If you are not a cock and lost your phone, I would re-evaluate your self assessment. Your friends sound like arses, your inbox is full of drivel, and you have a shit taste in music.

If you are a cock, and Katieluv has returned your phone, she's too good for you, and Karma owes her big style.

All I know is it's not mine. I am just a cock who didn't lose his phone.

08 July 2009

Hotrod Cow

Rejected as a spin off series from the multi award winning best TV show on earth ever, Doctor Who, Hotrod Cow was planned to be the tale of a many uddered bovine superheroine, tearing around the highlands of Scotland in a souped up Austin Allegro.

Never getting past the pilot episode, we have instead the also cleverly anagramed spin off from the multi award winning best TV show on earth ever, Doctor Who - Torchwood.

And instead of a hairy polytit in a car, we have a massive tit in a trench coat.

Torchwood is supposed to be an 'adult version', of Doctor Who. If adding the odd 'piss', 'paedo', and 'fart' into the script makes something adult, then maybe it's not safe for pre watershed. But is that enough to make it an adult show, or is it just Doctor Who Light, made edgy with a big swear?

You could take the other spin off from the multi award winning best TV show etc....., The Sarah Jane Chronicles (a CBBC show - deffo for the kids), and turn it into an adult show by having her diddle herself stupid while K9 shoves his extendable eyepiece up her extended ringpiece, but it would still be just Doctor Who without the Doctor.

So is Torchwood sexy enough to make you want to touch wood? Is it scary enough to make you touch cloth? Or do you just want to torch the wooden actors?

It has returned to our screens this week in some kind of nightly extravaganza. Event television to force us into watching BBC1 every night, and play havoc with all the stuff that's already been series linked on Sky+

It started predictably enough. Grotesque lifeforms, fat and misshapen. Dribbling and spewing out words in an incomprehensible, alien guttural language.

Still, if you film in Cardiff, it is cheaper to use the locals as extras....

And yet even more terrifying than that, is the novel plot device used to creep us all out.

Never used before, except maybe in The Village of the Damned, The Omen, Children of the Corn, The Exorcist, Ringu, The Grudge.....erm.....Torchwood, and countless others....

Scary children.

Cheap, readily available, and fucking frightening without even the need for prosthetics, kids freak the hell out of me, especially when they all start doing the same pointy thing on mass, much like Donald Sutherland and his mates at the end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

But the scary kids are just a precursor of bigger scarier things to come. The 456 are coming (not to be confused with Species 8472 from Star Trek Voyager), and the Government has made a special toxic gas filled tank for them to beam into, because as any self respecting Brit knows, if aliens wanted to come to earth, they would definitely come to London rather than Washington. There's more to see and do, and what with the Olympics round the corner, it's definitely the place to be.

However, interstellar travel does not seem to suit these creatures well. We've not yet been able to have a good look at them through the fug in their isolation tank, and it's not helped by the fact that they spew pea soup vomit down the glass every few minutes whilst squealing like a pig having it's neck slit open/Katie and Peters rendition of 'A whole new world'.

We'd better get a decent look at it in the next show. We're already 3 hours in, and I'm starting to suspect that the big reveal is going to be a bit of a let down. What's often scariest is what you don't see, so maybe they'll go down the 'keep it hidden' route.

And the biggest and scariest reveal we've had so far? The one thing that really should have stayed hiden? It's got to be the grainy image of John Barrowmans cock on a video monitor, then his bare arse covered in concrete dust, as he wandered naked and bewildered round a quarry in Wales.

This definitely nudges it way past adult entertainment, and well into not appropriate viewing for anyone.

So don't bother watching Torchwood. It is just Doctor Who Cares? Adult in attitude, but not in plotting or pace. A bit of swearing, gay characters, and a bit of gore doesn't make it into a grown up show, it just makes it Doctor Whos little brother trying to show off to impress his mates.

If you want to see real heroes battling hideous aliens in Cardiff, there's still another 4 days of "The First Ashes Test" there before the war moves on to London, and Lords.

Or "Fist Testes Sheather" as my hastily penned spin off series will be called. Or maybe "Te Shit Arse Thefts"I really haven't decided...All I do know is, it'll be better than Torchwood.

06 July 2009

What's in a name?

Chillaxing in front of the TV tonight while Mrsslippy works to keep me in Bombay Sapphire gin and organic limes, I was alerted by the power of Facebook, and the good taste of Mrs Bellus, to a potentially shit a.k.a GREAT horror film on Sky 3.

Black Swarm, starring Robert 'Freddie Kruger' Englund is proper made for TV bile, and therefore great. So far the killer wasps have only been normal sized, but I'm holding out for a huge CGI motherfucker, on really a ropey greenscreen background.

And whilst watching, I'm reminded of another great creature feature from my youth that has left it's imprint on my life.

My blogging name is Slippymark, but nobody really calls me that. I am known to many friends in Cambridge as Slippy, but when creating usernames and logins for other websites (such as my photo pages), my real name was always taken, and Slippy was always too short, so I started using Slippymark for stuff, and found it was always available, so it has become my avatar. Go Google it, apart from the odd Underworld remix by Mark Mendes, it's me all the way down.

Don't search for Mrs Slippy - or at least not from a work computer. That Mr & Mrs Slippy are definitely not us...

But my friends from my formative years in Norwich do not know me as Slippy, and regular readers, or Facebook friends may have noticed, to them I am Rauc, or Homer.

First guess might be that it's something to do with the overweight, imbecilic man-child of the same name, but you'd be wrong. It pre-dates The Simpsons.

Nor is it short for homosexual. I may be a sensitive soul, but I'm too lazy, too poorly groomed, and too attracted to women to bat for that team. Sorry boys.

No, Homer stems from a film from my youth.....

Back in the late 80's, the formidable Cringleford lads were wrenched apart as key player Nick was relocated to Writtle, near Chelmsford.

To support him in his exile, Stoxie and I would go down on occasional weekends, and spend our days farting on his brothers head, playing tunnelball, and watching films on VHS.

In the days before 2 million channels of fuck all, and the endless possibilities of the internet, the only way to amuse 3 teenage boys of an evening would be for Nicks mum to drive us to the nearest video store, and us to get out absolutely anything that we hadn't seen before involving sport (American Flyer's anyone?), ninjas, or horror - usually one of each.

Let's not forget that this was before Blockbuster and other such mega chains. Video stores were the size of a walk in wardrobe, and stocked a copy of everything. And when I say everything, I don't mean they had a copy of every film, I mean no matter how new or popular a film was, they only ever had one of it - and the good ones were always out.

So by this process (which also held true at home), it was highly likely that if there was a bad sport/ninja/horror film made in the 80's, I've seen it (and since bought my own copy).

One fateful night, we returned to Nick's Elba with a copy of The Nest. A genre staple of island town plagued by mutated insects - in this case roaches. If you ever wondered what a cat/cockroach hybrid would look like, then this is the film for you.

Suffice to say, at the end of the film, man triumphs over beast, largely due to the larger than life local exterminator, and happy and entertained we retired to Nicks bedroom. All was going well - we were going through the usual 'Name your World XI football team' type stuff, then Stoxie got up for a piss, only to return a few seconds later, white as Plums hair, and crying like a girl.

"In...the ...bathroom...." he stammered.

"Massive.......flying ....creature."

"Not...safe........Can't ....go...in."

We bundled down the corridor/tunnelball pitch together, and with Stoxie binging up the rear, and peered round the bathroom door.

He was right.

There it was. Fluttering round the lightbulb was the biggest moth I had ever, and probably still have ever seen.

We needed an exterminator par exellence. We needed the guy from the film we had just seen.

We needed Homer.

But he wasn't there. Left with the alternative option of Stoxie pissing in Nicks room, I stood up to the plate.

With the boys chanting 'Homer, Homer, Homer', I launched myself at the flying abomination, and with both hands, somehow managed to wrestle the vile beast out of the window.

Job done, my talent for insect extermination was carved into stone, and the name stuck. I'm not sure if my other friends in Norwich know the real reason I'm called Homer. It's not for a cartoon caricature, or a sexual slur.

It's because that fateful night in Chelmsford, I damn well saved Nick and Stoxies lives.

One day I might tell you all why I'm called Slippy in Cambridge. My close friends here all know.

All I'll say for now, is it's got very little to do with Underworld, and alot more to do with undercarriage....


05 July 2009

The Duckworth-Lewis Method

Not, as some readers might assume, the method your significant other uses to prevent you watching The Premiership on Sky, because they have to watch Coronation Street, and then the continuing adventures of Inspector Morses brickie turned detective sidekick.

Nor the method of calculating the target score of the second cricket team to bat following a break in play due to rain.

But very much cricket related, for Duckworth and Lewis are the alter egos of one Thomas Walsh (whom I've never heard of), and Neil Hammon - he of The Divine Comedy, Father Ted theme tune, and seminal work for the aforementioned show, My Lovely Horse.

With the Ashes just 4 days away, it's perfect timing for an album based around the joys of Cricket. There are dozens, if not hundreds of football related songs, with a couple coming out each year for the domestic finals, and then countless others at every Euro and World Cup, but when it comes to cricket, there are woefully few.

There's 10ccs Dreadlock Holiday, and Rory Bremner had a stab with n-n-nineteen

By far my favourite was one that my friend Nick brought back from Australia entitled 'Come on Aussie Come on'. I managed to find a copy of it on YouTube, but it was it's B-side 'Lah lah la la laaaah West Indies' that was the real crowd pleaser. Nick, if you've still got it on vinyl, and have the ways and means to digitise it, I'd love a copy.

But back to present day, and a whole album of cricket.

Piss take, parody, or pop gold? Lets find out.....

1) The Coin Toss - Set's the mood nicely. Let's play.

2) The Age of Revolution - It's got a 20's baseline, modern electronica, and conjures up the modern history of the game nicely. Duckworth and Lewis' first delivery finds line and length, but doesn't really challenge the batsman.

3) Gentlemen and Players - A bit like if 'Love' had put down their spliffs and knocked the ball about a bit. Wistful and summery. Just how village cricket should be, but not the Ashes. No balls to it, a no ball it is.

4) The Sweet Spot - Glam-rock-tastic. Hits the sweetspot, and it's over the pavilion and out onto The Edgware Road.

5) Jiggery Pokery - The tale of the First Test 1993 as told by Mike Gatting. An easy first innings target at Old Trafford. Merv Hughes, Ather's, Dickie Bird, and the debut of a certain young leg spinner taking him for a duck. I remember Gatts, and I hate Shane Warne too. We all do.

6) Mason on the Boundary - Delightful. Dreams of long summer days, and having a little sit down in the outfield. Just how fielding should be.

7) Rain Stops Play - Instrumental break in the proceedings, pull on the covers and go and make a cup of tea, it's only a shower....

8) Meeting Mr Miandad - Hannon/Lewis at his witty best. Off to Pakistan in a VW Camper Van. An historical, phantasmagorical destiny. I'm going to be humming this for days. It's another six.

9) The Nightwatchman - The melancholy song of the fall guy brought up the batting order at the end of the day so one of the big hitters doesn't lose his wicket to failing light. I remember Jack Russell coming on as a nightwatchman against Sri Lanka in the 80's and still being there the following lunch time, nearly making a century. Not bad for a banana eating, floppy hatted, wicket keeping Derek Smalls lookalike.

10) Flatten the Hay - Still full of whimsy. Duckworth and Lewis clearly like their cricket in the cucumber sandwiches and tea in the pavilion variety.

11) Test Match Special - Who doesn't love a bit of TMS.

12) The End of the Over - The official end of the album on the sleeve, but as I bought it from itunes, it's patently obvious that there's a hidden bonus track....

13) Pedalo - The funky misadventures of a man on a pedalo in the Caribbean. What on earth could this have to do with cricket?

All in all it's quite a nice little listen. As expected from Neil Hannon, it's clever lyrics and generally full of optimism for an idyllic English (or Irish) summer, watching gentleman players as the sun goes down on the village pitch. Neither piss take nor parody. He proper likes cricket, alhough his glasses are rather more rose tinted than the sporty wraparounds favoured by players these days.

I will be mostly watching the games finish via a pop up window on my pc at work Ball by ball scores, praying for a miracle. And that's provided each Test isn't all wrapped up in 4 days...

You never know, Australia might lose.

Because that's what it will take, not England winning - we're clearly not good enough for that, Australia need to lose. But given their (Andrew Symondsless) showing in the Twenty20, anything is possible.

At least we won't be beaten by Duckworth-Lewis in the event of rain (unlike Twenty20), because in Test Cricket you can still play for 5 days and come away with a draw.

What a great sport.