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.......

05 August 2009

Faux parps

The only problem with the sound insulating quality of my new headphones is it's very hard to judge how loud you are talking if you have them in.

This is compounded when talking, which I often do, both metaphorically and physically, out of my arse.

Walking through the underground to work this morning, music on, and in a world of my own, I felt the familiar gentle pressure in my colon, and despite the fact that I knew someone was a few steps behind me, and another person approaching, I relaxed slightly to reduce the pressure. This is normal practice when farting in public. A slow controlled release whilst carefully listening for any tell tale signs that it's coming from you. If silent, just carry on regardless, and if it smells, just keep that poker face and look accusingly at everyone else. It was easy to get away with on an elderly care ward, and still pretty easy in most areas of the hospital.

But this morning I was in a staff only section, and had forgotten the key flaw in my usual fool proof plan. I couldn't hear my own arsehole.

And even more foolishly, in my early morning fug of confusion and low caffeine content, I got cocky. Hearing no noises myself, I started to relax my sphincter....

As a child growing up, we had several different words for farts based on the noise, or lack of noise they made.

A pleb was a small staccato fart, audible, but not overly wet.

A veep was one of my favourites. A long high pitched whine through very tight arse cheeks, and often slightly moist - as best demonstrated by Gav Hatt onto Matts head. It even gave it's name to a character in the Spanish role plays me and Nick used to have to do for GCSE. I have fond memories of the exploits of Senor Sticky Veep and Senor Eggy Guffer at the cafe Jumbo Whiffy.

A whiff was not just a smell, it was the gentle breeze of a warm, but silent fart - like the Mistral blowing through your pants.

And a quack was about as onomatopeic as it gets. Like a large duck stuffed down the back of your trousers. Expulsed at a forceful high speed to maximise the volume and pitch, it also held the inherent danger of following through, ripping your ringpiece, or even both.

So what started as a whiff this morning, transmogrified into a veep as I grew in confidence, until with a probable strained expression on my face I tightened up every muscle in my abdomen and turned it into a full blown quack.

If I was sat on a chair I'd have been rolling onto one cheek...

I can only assume from the disgusted look on the woman approaching me that she could hear what I could not. Poker faced, I walked on - avoiding eye contact.

And the woman behind me was stepping into the vapour trail so obvious that I may have well attached a Red Arrows style paint job to - I certainly wasn't about to look around and check if she was also glaring.

But I'm sure she could also hear the other thing that escaped my ears. The sound of me giggling like a child at a fart that I was more proud of than ashamed, and just wishing I'd had the pleasure of hearing it myself.

03 August 2009


A friend died this morning.

After nearly three years of dutiful service, my iPod has stopped shuffling, and just shuffled off.

I should have seen the warning signs. It's not been well for some time. The screen had developed faint black lines across it like LCD crows feet, making video playback useless. It's memory had been full for over a year, and failing fast, and every new thing it had to remember was at the expense of something else. It had become increasingly neurotic - even when I played my favourites on shuffle, it kept playing the same ones, and completely ignoring others.

A few months ago it coughed up a lung, or part of it's headphone, into my ear canal, but rather than retiring it, I tried to nurse it back to health with some lovely new headphones (Goldring GX200's - with Comply foam earpieces that work like earplugs - block out pretty much all extraneous noise. Fucking sweet. Thanks Gingerwarrior for the tip), but to no avail.

It was tired of amusing me, so after playing me a podcast from Adam & Joe last night we both went to sleep.

It never woke up.

I tried to resuscitate it on three different chargers, used the 'magic sequence of buttons' to try to initiate a soft, then factory reset, and plugged it into the laptop, but to no avail. The laptop wouldn't even recognise it as an external storage device.

It's dead. I'd like to think it didn't suffer. It probably enjoyed a little chuckle to Adam & Joe before it slipped away to technology heaven in it's sleep.

So after a brief period of mourning, which took about as long as it takes me to walk to work whilst listening to nothing but the traffic, I decided I should replace it as soon as possible. It's what it would have wanted.

I managed to stay at work for at least 4 hours before I gave up for the day and headed into town (Fuck off! I'm owed hours, alright?), and straight to the Apple shop. Once I finally managed to corner an assistant amongst the throng of people who weren't there to shop, just wank over the shiny white goods, it was a quick process.

"My iPod has died, I need a Classic replacement"
"Black or silver?"

Box out the draw.

"Card or cash?"

Assistant had a hand held card reader.

"Do you want a printed receipt or an e-mailed one?"

Key my e-mail address into his card reader, and I was out within a minute of making eye contact. Job done.

Safely home, I need nothing out of the box except for the iPod itself. The dead one was only 60GB, and since we have way more music, audio books, videos and podcast subscriptions than that, I had to manage the content manually.

Now I've just connected it up and said "knock your self out".
As I type it is now 'copying 6100 of 12484'. Greedily devouring the contents of my hard drive like an electronic baby suckling at my digital breast.

Trouble is, just like a greedy child, once it's done, I'm going to have to burp up some of the shit that it should never have swallowed.

I keep a pretty eclectic library. Some things that are not really my cup of tea were allowed to reside on the old iPod just in case they were ever needed on group holidays or gatherings. Cheesy party tunes and 'classics' by the likes of Abba, or Britney.

But there is stuff in the Library that has been added to make playlists for specific occasions, or to rip into a 'significant' cd for someone, that I will not have on my new iPod, for fear it might accidentally play it at the slip of a button. Better safe than sorry.

The other problem is this new child also needs to be taught not only what it should never have swallowed, but what is actually very tasty and nutritious. Part of your musical 'Five-a Day'.

Because I had to manage the old iPod manually, and both Mrsslippy and I used the same library, all my playlists and ratings were in the actual iPod itself. I don't have to rank all 12,500 songs, but as I like to use smart playlists, I am going to have to tell it what I would rank as 4 or 5 stars, so if I want it to play a selection of all my favourites, or stuff I quite like from the 80's, it can do.

And the best part? Not only do I have a nice shiny new iPod that I can fit all my stuff on, with plenty of room for more, I also have yet another pair of shitty white headphones that came with it. I think that makes six pairs between the two of us now. They're not even coming out the packet. They're going straight into the big box of wires and other such gubbins in the loft where all electrical equipment goes when it dies, along with a very dear, but very dead, old friend.

02 August 2009

Fantasy Football

As the nights draw in, and the air starts to feel like winter is just around the corner, my mind turns to football.

Hell, it may only have just turned August, but it is a bit nippy out, and having done the necessary research (ie been watching Sky all day), the Premiership season does indeed start next weekend - or sort of. It's the Charity shield or whatever they're calling it this year, and a full fixture list for The Championship and leagues 1 and 2.

So all of a sudden it's time to think long and hard about fantasy teams.

My first foray into Fantasy sport was way back in the early nineties, with cricket. I'm pretty sure The Daily Telegraph was the first place to do it, and as the years have gone by, there is a Fantasy version of everything. I was even asked to sign up for a Fantasy Tour de France this year - sorry Matt - I didn't even reply, having no knowledge or interest in the sport.

Football soon followed suit, courtesy of The Sun. In the early days, you paid to submit a team, and then got updates and scores printed in the paper. To check out your own team, or have a mini league with friends, you had to all add up your own scores and compare.

My early attempts were ok. Not winning amongst my peer group, but still doing myself proud. Scoring was pretty basic too. Points if your player scored a goal, minus points if a defender or goalie let them in. Points for a clean sheet for defenders, and minus points for cards.

As the years have gone by, and the advent of OPTA statistics, scoring has become more convoluted, and more websites have sprung up running similar style competitions.

A few years ago I was running a league based out of the Sun for colleagues at work - this time just for The World Cup, with £10 in for each team - winner takes all. It was starting to get a bit easier to manage leagues, as The Sun was publishing all the players scores on line, so sticking everyone's teams in a spreadsheet and then just copying and pasting the pages from The Suns website meant I could produce a new league table in a matter of minutes after each evenings games, rather than scouring the papers hours on end for each individuals players and scores.

I was planning on distributing the scores as I had done with the previous years Premier League - via works email.

Shortly before the tournament was due to start I received an email from a very senior member of management, entitled 'Fantasy Football'.

'Shit', thought I. I'm going to be told not to do this on work time. I can explain away that all I do is send an email with the scores in, because not all the players have a home email address. I don't do any of the updating or preparation of tables at work (but only because the website is blocked by works firewall). I'm not making any money out of it, It's not gambling, it's just a friendly sweepstake.....

As it turned out it wasn't an email telling me to cease and desist, rather one asking me very nicely if he was allowed to play, and if so, here was his team, and to whom should he give his £10?

Fucker went on to win it too. Very begrudgingly I had to go to the Management Suite to hand over the cash.

"Have you got an appointment" said the receptionist.

"No" said I, "but I think he'll want to see me if you just buzz to let him know I'm here. I have his gambling winnings for him".

Now the multitudes of websites are free, and the game play even more sophisticated. You can start with a whole squad rather than a team, and pick which 11 actually play each week, allowing you to swap your keepers if your 1st choice is going to be playing against Man Utd, or drop players if they are injured. That is if you can be bothered to log in everyday and micro manage your team. I had Torres captaining (double points) my team for around 6 weeks last year before I decided that I should probably log in and make some substitutions being as he was injured and not playing.

Team selection can take hours, as you decide whether to blow your cash on a killer strike force, or go for a balanced approach.

You ca spend a fortune on 'big players' who either get injured and score nothing, under perform, or who everyone else has bought anyway, so you gain nothing by having them, but lose everything if you don't. Do you save fuck all for defenders so you either have cheap players from big teams who never get off the bench, or whatever you can afford from Fulham, and then just hope that the amount of goals they let in is offset by the millions that Anelka and Berbatov are going to score?

I've decided that most of it is down to a little bit of common sense, and a lot of luck. It's that £4.5 million that you have left to spend on a defender or midfielder. You can't afford anyone you want, so you just look at the price list and pull someone at random, and then they go on to bag up hundreds of points for you. That was Joleon Lescott for me last year. This year he's £7.5, but because he did well for me last year, I've stumped up the cash - as have 16% of other people who have registered at the official website.

I've spent a grand total of 10 minutes and £100 million selecting my squad, and as usual, I hope for success, but expect mediocrity.

If you want in, I'm playing at The Barclays League site. If you want to join my mini-league, contact me via email, FB or Twitter for the pin number. The more the merrier, and the further down the points table I can slide.

I'll still do better than Grimsby though...

01 August 2009

Radio Gold

I posted a slide show on Facebook yesterday from a holiday Mrsslippy and I enjoyed with friends way back in 2003, as I was feeling nostalgic.

Amongst the comments from fellow holiday goers, was one from Stoxie purporting to be nostalgic for 'Radio Squeaky Voice'.

Do I look like I do requests? If I were a DJ maybe I might. But maybe I was once a DJ, and Stoxies comment, whether a request or not, has got me reminiscing about that once great show.

Radio Squeaky Voice (RSV) was at it's heyday in the early '80s. Recorded at one of the most hi-tech bedrooms audio studios in Cringleford, it really was the cutting edge of broadcasting, with Nick owning a cassette recorder that not only had tape to tape facilities, but could also record at two different speeds!

Recording at the slow setting could double the length of a standard tape, meaning a C120 cassette could potentially hold four hours of music, or five whole albums! Take that Apple with your poxy ipods!

The only drawback was that anything recorded at that speed could only really be played back on Nicks new fangled portable stereo thing. Sticking it in a standard Sony Walkman it would play back in its uncompressed format, and would be sped up and useless.

What made RSV so groundbreaking was the way it's DJ's used this change in speed to record segueways, intros and malicious gossip news, that once played back at normal speed would disguise their voices and protect their anonymity from litigation adoring fans.

While modern DJs and wannabees (yes Moyles, I'm talking to you) use computer gadgetry and jiggery pokery to alter their voices, RSV relied on the raw skills and talents that the DJs were blessed with.

This meant taaallk-iiing.....veeerryy...slooow-llly...aaand...deeeeply....iiinn-toooo...theeeee..miiiiiike.

And then just play it back.

Because it's far, far easier to extend a vowel than a consonant, if you got the pitch right it didn't really sound sped up, it just sounded like three people with the weirdest fucking speech impediments.

That is unless a DJ got a bit over excited. Stoxie was prone to such things, and as his section went on, his voice got higher and faster, making the playback copy almost unintelligible (appropriately). Accompanied by the now also sped up giggling of the co-hosts, it was raw, radical and outrageous.

We called it a radio show, but unfortunately we lacked any transmission equipment, so I guess you'd call it a pre internet podcast. If released today, I'm sure it would put Ricky Gervais, or Adam and Joes feeble attempts at 'comedy' to shame.

Sadly I don't think anyone will get the chance to hear it. I believe Norwich Library were holding copies in their archives, but they were destroyed in the fire of 1994.

The British Library, or the BBC might still have copies, but don't hold your breath. I fear they are lost to the annals of time.

We will never hear their likes again....unless you guys are up for a 25th Anniversary comeback tour?