Posted on October 22, 2010 by Ian
Hearing Sir Rupert Murder speaking at the Annual Dinner for Margaret Thatcher’s Arselickers made me think how nice it would be to have a Margaret Thatcher Day. Men of a certain age and education who still long for their nannies could pull on nappies and blue dresses and thrash themselves silly while listening to speeches of the old hag.
There was only one point to smirk at during Osborne’s Spending Regression, and that’s when he said that people were living longer. He must have known that while he was speaking the old coffin dodger was hanging on to a bed that someone far richer deserved.
Anyway, as it goes up in France like a creme-de-menthe supernova, one hopes that the old chateau in Provence will be okay. Got a significant pile down there so Sarko had better sort it out. What!
Filed under: General | Tagged: France, thatcher | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 22, 2010 by Ian
I was going to write a funny sitcom type sketch about Wayne and Coleen similar to the one I did about Posh and Becks when he fell out with Lord Gorbals. But then I found out how loathsome the pair are on Wiki and my heart went out of it. Anyway, the scene is a fur and snakeskin lined living room in Prestbury, Cheshire. Wayne’s lying on the sofa with the toxic end of his mobile stuffed in his mouth and he’s whining pitifully that he’s been dropped.
“Without me footie am nothing, luv. Am finished like.”
“Give me that fookin phone.”
Five minutes later.
“You’re playing tomorrow, Man City, half a million a week. Now shut yer fookin trap and walk the flamin veimaraners.”
So this is what I found on Wiki: “Coleen Rooney has offended animal lovers with her wardrobe of fur and snakeskin items. Claiming that the animal lovers are overlooking the animals primary reason for existence to make clothing, she asserted that “these animals were put here for a twatting reason, and if yer don’t understand that, then fook off to Primark, because you’re probably just jealous”. Lovely. It’s a glaring English ambiguity. They, the English tabloid-reading public, are wholeheartedly behind Osborne’s cuts to “scoungers”, but they hate Wayne making a mint. They can’t have it both ways.
Look, let me explain yesterday’s poem. Hobson and Hobson. It’s not that difficult. The overall conceit is that it’s a house falling down when really we’re talking about the bloody country. Right! And what you do is switch Surveyor for Banker, or Chancellor of the Ex-bloody-chequer. It’s really quite simple. Anyway that’s enough in the voice of Ed for a while.
In this household, it usually falls on me to press the button of the white machine that washes clothes. It’s the one with the window. God it’s not rocket science. Call it paranoia, but wherever we’ve lived in Britain recently, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the neighbours are watching me when I press the button. This place is no different. It’s because the bastards think I’m claiming DLA and they’re going to use it in evidence to call Osborne’s swat team and laugh while I’m dragged away by brownshirts and searched for traces of fabric conditioner.
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Posted on October 20, 2010 by Ian
Who says time travel is dead? I always wondered what it would be like to live in 1920s Britain, and after today’s cuts in welfare, I’ll probably get the chance. Actually, my gran worked downstairs in 1920s London. She said it was great if you didn’t mind the streets being ruled by violent gangs and safety was only to be found on streets with an occupied sentry box. A different image to the popular “gay 20s” image. Speaking of troops on the streets, I thought it was a good idea for the cost-reduced police to back away from dealing with the kind of “anti-social behaviour” that goes on in Britain. It’s actually civil unrest, and that’s a job for the cost-reduced army.
Just to prove I don’t like anything alternative just for the sake of being cool, when moving house, I went through the CDs and I’m sure I decided to get rid of Antony and the Johnsons and Belle and Sebastian thinking how forgotten and uncool they now were and that it was finally safe to quietly ditch them. Now I regret it because they’re both ubercool again, ie they’re getting a re-run in every weekend magazine. Cool, not cool, cool again. God it’s so difficult. If I actually have given away these “masterpieces”, I don’t regret it. I tried to like them and I didn’t. I don’t hate them. I like the idea of them. I would even say I’m a fan of the idea of them, but I just don’t like the music. Okay maybe I’ll see if I just buried them under the Cherry Ghost and Badly Drawn Boy CDs. Cool, not cool, never going to be cool again, or will they?
It’s back to the novel which is struggling to exist amidst the paint pads and rollers and wood filler. I liked my mouse swap idea in yesterday’s blog. I think I might try to develop that. Anything’s got to be easier than writing a novel. Descaling the insides of a hot water cylinder by hand is easier than writing a novel. Yesterday’s major distraction was the shower not switching off. Oh yes, the water went off, but when I went downstairs, the pump was still spluttering away. So after registering on handyman.com (a site for repressed mechanicals) I discovered all sorts about my shower, except how to stop it. Lots of info on how to get the reed flanges, pressure widgets and PCBs going, but nothing on stopping it. I decided to switch it on and off a hundred times until it got the message but many thanks to all those who contributed online to solving the problem.
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Posted on October 19, 2010 by Ian
Recent cost-reduced army exercises on Salisbury Plain must have sent a shock wave that caused my humane mouse trap to close with no mouse inside. I rang the Annoyed By Bombs? army hotline but they weren’t interested. Oddly, they asked for the coordinates of my house. They suggested the mouse had got in and out without being caught. This is a mouse with a penchant for plastic pipe lagging and it can make a noise at 4am that sounds like concrete slabs being dropped. Names suggested: Harry Houdini, Plastic Bertrand. All that shredded plastic should have killed him by now or caused a sex change. I won’t be calling on the army to sort it out. Pretty soon I hope to take Plastic B. on a long journey in a fast car and like Le Carre in Smiley’s People, I will arrive at the Salisbury Plain army checkpoint and demand a mouse swap.
Then the electrician spent ages tracing a loose neutral wire that had caused the outside lights to fail. I was blaming the tree people. He thought I was blaming him. I was blaming the army. It’s a blame game. Speaking of blame, I’m keeping away from the news this week. Ozzy Osborne and the Cutbacks etc. He reminds me of Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham with that exaggerated sideways “Gah!” of spiteful mocking disdain when jeered in the house. Apart from the politics, is he really personally unpleasant or have standards dropped? I’m sure the media are holding back on his unfortunate personality until the time is right, ie when Cameron wants to blame his nearest rival for the looming fuck up and endless Antiques Roadshows from the Ark Royal.
My novel progresses slowly. It’s not the oddest thing I’ve written. Not yet anyway. Since the recent success with The New Flesh, I feel a sudden pressure to write odd but that’s not how it works. Back in May 09, the Guardian leaked some Barclays internal memos that described the goings-on of those juvenile young bucks in the financial world. Some of those details made it into the story I’m getting published. How weird is that?
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Posted on October 7, 2010 by Ian
“They’ll just die off in the first frost” everyone said. So what do we have? Record October temperatures and a mini-heatwave forecast for the weekend. They can’t get enough of the rotting apples lying around. Some of them are so pissed they’ve fallen through the downlights onto the stairs. I’ve considered leaning out of the window and spraying the entrance which according to the experts must be done at night when the hive is inactive. Will I be the only one hanging out of the window and cursing late at night?
Around 2am something very large keeps landing on the roof just above the wasps’ nest . Whatever it is hammers on the roof tiles for a while before I scare it off. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should take a leaf out of Attenbrough and let nature take its course. It sounds like a prehistoric bird but it must be an owl. I’ll look it up on the web and send a message to Katie H. at Autumnwatch to see if she knows. Maybe they could come round and install their tiny cameras.
Speaking of the BBC in the wild, dumbed down former intellectual Michael Wood’s BBC4 series The Story of England, a Brave Foray into the Sticks, shows that English people living in the Midlands have grown out of their militant car worker phase and are now fully re-established in the wild and multiplying. They installed their tiny cameras and observed these strange creatures. A few famines, plagues and French invasions along the way have toughened them up and they’re now ready to be called Little Englanders again. This series, like most of the Beeb’s output these days, seeks to establish an English national identity as spurious as Sir Walter Scott’s creation of Bonny Socks Scotland. Wisely Woods has avoided a Morris Dance, but it’s early days. The Scots learned the hard way about hubris in the 70s and I fear the BBC are luring the ill-informed English down the same piss soaked road to shouty nationalism. Or perhaps they want to stem the tide of emigration and keep Provence and Tuscany for themselves.
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Posted on October 4, 2010 by Ian
Many people enjoy contradicting others. They enjoy it so much they even contradict themselves. My local pub, the birthplace of contradiction, contradicts itself by having a sign outside to stop walkers entering in muddy boots and yet inside there’s a book of local walks for walkers. Either you want walkers or you don’t.
People who complain about low light levels in their houses build conservatories so they can bask in the light. They then built it out of Reactolite glass that cuts out most of the light, or wear sunglasses.
People go to the pub to cheer themselves up, but then they drink alcohol, the number one depressant. Doctors go mad about the dangers of salt in food, but they do nothing about alcohol which poisons and kills ten teenagers a day.
Recently I decided to go with the flow and look at getting tattooed, just down one forearm with fashionable quips: fuck off and die, love / hate, Fiona Bruce, the usual thing. I can press my forearm to the windscreen in a macho display just like other males. However having the windscreen etched with the same tattoos and just pressing my untattooed arm to the glass and pretending they’re all mine works just as well.
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Posted on October 1, 2010 by Ian
Fiona Bruce wears her coat indoors with the waist strap done up for very good reasons: every time they start shooting the Antiques, she’s debagged and her pristine white trousers are hoisted up the flagpole. They hardly show her from the waist down these days. But that’s because she’s half woman, half desk.
Today I went in a high street mobile phone shop and gave up. The lighting in those places is now so bright even the carpet can’t stand it. It’s so hot men stand around in their vests while the women stuff the plutonium-enriched part of their phone in their mouths and hum Katy Perry. They’re so overdoesd on the image they have to live it all the time. I’m going to buy online.
The new Bosch windscreen wipers I bought weeks ago at Halfords for £17.49 are starting to work. Halfords looked at them and decided they were working but they just didn’t fit, so tough! No money back. I decided to stick with them. I liked the idea of a windscreen wiper that gets round to it in its own time. The best way is to watch the forecast and start them moving two days in advance of bad weather so they build up a head of steam. When the rain stops, you just pull them away from the windscreen to avoid scratching.
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Posted on September 28, 2010 by Ian
I finally managed to change a lightbulb in one of these stupid downlights. It’s not the type with a clip, but one you have to lever out of the ceiling, at least I think that’s what you do. That’s what the box in B+Q said. We both tried twisting and prodding the tiny dead bulb, but it only came out once the whole downlight had been prised away using a knife and was hanging from the ceiling. I imagined someone would walk in and switch it on just as I was removing it. Who invented these stupid things and why?
The roof space has reached new heights of grizzly misery even too graphic to describe here. Hoping for a severe frost to kill off whatever’s up there.
I did manage to send a story off to a fledgling magazine in Michigan, it being Tuesday and a suitable day for submitting stories in my scheme. I searched Crime Noir in Duotrope and came back with 12 markets. I’m always criticising submission guidelines. I was sidetracked by Storyglossia, a magazine on my NO NEVER AGAIN IN A MILLION YEARS list because they wait three months and then send a standard response ending with OFF. They say: ”Crime/noir, Sci-fi, Speculative, Horror, and Fantasy are considered, but (WAIT FOR IT!!) keep in mind that these are not the editors’ area of expertise” Not? Well why mention them? Timewasting editors are the pits. What makes someone list a whole set of genres they know nothing about. That’s like a sign on a fishing pond saying, ”Pike, perch and trout are freshwater fish but keep in mind there aren’t any here.”
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Posted on September 27, 2010 by Ian
Ed won… I knew he would. When he made a speech saying we shouldn’t be told to fear the free market, the media got the jitters. Of course we should fear the free market! At last, a Labour leader who doesn’t believe in the Just Do It Or Die mantra of the Tories. So we can look forward to the Tory press dredging up some great Red Ed demonising headlines. Red Ed Will Tax Your Babies. Red Ed Will Tax Your Pint.
The NYT had a fascinating article about madmen in business. How those who simply react to the free market might actually be “mentally ill”, whereas those who think their way through the mayhem are better placed to face the future. They cited Henry Ford as a mad man who discovered that by repeating the same thing over and over you could make millions and laugh at silly old fools still making beautiful things to order and earning a living wage. Deluded cretins! Of course, no one asked whether the man on the Henry Ford production line was happy, which of course he most definitely was not. Which brings me on to the poems of Fred Voss, the production line poet. Romanticism is dead and good riddance.
My parents were on about “gangs of Lithuanina squatters” they’d read about in the Daily Expat: How Migrants Snatched Our Homes. No emotive editorializing there. If you read the story, it’s “a gang of Lithuanian squatters” not a plural of gangs, and it’s more to do with the disgraceful way two people in affordable housing have been treated by Springboard Housing in Barking, rather than about “terrifying” and “violent” Lithuanians, but then the Expat has never missed a chance for an emotive racist slur. A Springboard Housing Association spokeswoman said: “We are very sympathetic to our tenant, Angie’s, situation. We are continuing to do everything we can to make sure she can return to her property as speedily as possible.” So from a story about “snatching migrants” to just one person. Angie. How would the couldn’t-care-less-we-voted-4-Clegg-Guardian treat the local story about a squat? In at least two words. Tough Tit!
There’s always Tabloid Watch which looks at the Expat’s appalling racist headline: Muslim Plot to Kill Pope. Horrible rag. We all know that a volcanic eruption will kill the pope in St Peter’s Square.
I hate Mondays. Nothing new there except that I also hate Fridays. That leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. My collection of short stories, over 30, looks more like a pamphlet of short stories, fast becoming just a sheet. I never understood the advice to weed out unnecessary verbiage only for 390000 word drama histories to become vogue. Maybe it’s a scam and all the words I take out go straight into a Hilary Mantel novel. Former Convent Girl Stole My Words!
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Posted on September 24, 2010 by Ian
“Tinkle tinkle clank, what a lot we drank” to (mis)quote Wendy Cope. As the crash and rumble of recycling starts up, it must be Friday. A week since the move and the dust has already developed into tumbleweed. With no carpets to soak it up, the stark reality is Hoover or die in a dust avalanche.
I just watched BBC 4′s Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, still available on i-player. In his own words it reveals a small part of the intense method behind the effortless playing. Hendrix flows because he actively “banished negative thinking”. He never looks at his guitar nor do you notice wrong notes. On Radio 3 Nigel Kennedy’s cover of Little Wing is often played. Hendrix is no Nadia Boulanger, but there’s much more to Hendrix than simple Extra-Terrestrial Rock God.
Speaking of banishing negative thinking, I hope to banish Vodafone. They claim I live in a mobile phone black spot. In fact it’s a Vodafone black spot. Caroline was left standing at the station due to a text that’s still not appeared.
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