Monthly Archives: December 2006

The flak cannon of festive cheer

Sorry about yesterdays bitterness. I’m cheered up today by the realization that I have more money than I thought I had. The upshot of this is that I can probably afford turntables AND might have spare change to buy a new motherboard for my poorly computer. And I discovered where one of my favorite record shops has relocated to.

I might well have a festive drink to celebrate.

In the meantime here is an obligatory end of year top 5 (since every other blogger, message board and news paper comulnist seems to have one)

The top 5 gigs of the year as witnessed by Your Humble Narrator:

1. John Smith (Liverpools Folk-Hendrix-Guitar-Percussionist) in some tiny art gallery down Duke street I think, playing to a packed audience. Certainly one of the cosiest gigs I’ve been to

2. Belle & Sebastian at the Manchester Ritz (the only reason they’re at no. 2 is cos we paid over the odds on ebay for tickets)

3. Bonobo at the Magnet (Jazz dance music thang)

4. DJ Shadow sneaks in due to the high quality of his video stuff (although hip-hop’s not really my thing)

5. Arab Straps farewell tour – (My being a big fan of Scottish indie music, although their lyrics were a bit close to the bone sometimes)

Well theres a few different genres there so I’m happy.

And a big happy festive new year to all my regular readers too!

The Impoliteness Grenade

I can’t be the only person this year who has to bite their tongue at the dinner table. In fact given my tendency towards horrific social gaffes I have to be extra careful. There are times however when it feels like I have swallowed the grenade of impoliteness and I have to bite my cheeks in order to stop something exploding out. Do you understand what I mean? When you find yourself telling outrageous lies to your closest blood relatives. You tell them the food is great when everyone present can see that it’s burnt beyond all recognition or when you receive that tartan jumper you say "Thanks, that will keep me warm". I suspect everyone has at least one quite possibly racist relative, but what do you do when they voice their views over christmas dinner, you nod shamefully and murmer "Of course, you have a point there".

Whats the solution?

Make a solemn vow to be as brutally honest as you can be, your relatives will thank you for your honest opinions. Take Larry David as your role model. Cause havoc at the dinner table with your own caustic views. Burnt dinner? Tell them exactly how it could have been done better. Tartan clothing as a present? Tell them how much you spent on them. Racist relatives who play the "I’m only being plain spoken" card? Take that as an invitation to be "plain speaking" about your own views. Remember honesty is the best gift you can give, don’t suffer in silence this year.


I should point out right now that I’m currently staying back with the parents in North Yorkshire so I’m not currently displaced. I also thought it was fair to point out that despite my earlier rant I have amassed a fair amount of seasonal booty.

Avast!, my booty consists of:

From Katie – One bag constructed entirely out of drugs (also known as "Hemp" I believe). It has a tastefully keyring attached with the iconic marijuana leaf symbol. I intend to remove it at some point. The bag is theoretically from Amnesty International but it doesn’t have their logo on it unfortunately, I’m not sure whether I’d be more likely to be stopped going through customs with a bag with the A.I. logo or a bag with a drugs logo. Depending on the country either one of those symbols could invoke a latex enema. I do really like the bag though and it’s much better than my decaying satchel

From my parents – One copy of "The Motorcycle diaries" by Ernesto Che Guevara. Last year I complained about getting socks for christmas and asked if I could have a book instead suffice to say my parents did well (though ironically I need more socks at the moment). Also one pen, one "Wilderness Survival Kit" (ie a thermos, compass and multitool). And hopefully some money towards turntables

From my brother – One bottle of Balvennie single malt to while away those winter nights

From my mate Julie – Shiny mini disco balls (a reference to Mr Susan the cloth beast from the Mighty Boosh) and a Miracle Toast Stamp (inprint any piece of toast with an image of the Vigin Mary)


I have now slayed the seasonal goliath that is christmas shopping (two full days earlier than normal). The streets are still packed with rampant consumer-zombies bashing into each other and pawing at everything in the shop til their greedy magpie eyes light upon something shiny. Then a dim flicker of intelligence flares up inside them and they somehow remember their card and pin number before roaming off into the winter twilight of liverpool.

I jest of course, I’m not anti-possession or material goods and cleverer people than me have written many words about how the spiritual elements have got lost along the way. Actually there is something quite comforting about thinking that the crowds of people outside all have someone they love enough to brave the cold and the queues and the discomfort for.

Dickensian fog

Today a deep Dickensian fog descended on Liverpool. It may have been concealing small cockney pickpockets, chimney sweeps and shoe shiners, I couldn’t tell. I was too focused on my task on completing my christmas shopping. I have done some of my shopping now (and none of it was stolen by the aformentioned seasonal cockney villans). I still need to go out tomorrow and do some more but the crowds become too much.

In other news I’m trying to design a board game based around plastic surgery (play-doh rhinoplastys and such).

A festive top 5

Since my last entry was a bit glum here is my top 5 things about christmas in no particular order

1) Beards. Jesus has/had one (theological conundrum, is he still bearded now?) , Santa has one, this christmas why not grow one yourself as the ultimate christmas decoration (Note to female readers this may not actually be possible in your case)

2) Trees. Fresh christmas tree smell is one of the nicest smells in the universe

3) Advent calenders. This year I recieved a "Pirates of the Carribean" advent calender from Katie. Unfortunately it appears that Kiera Knightly doesn’t make the piratical grade as she doessn’t appear on aforementioned calender. This could mean one of three things a) Kiera Knightley is only a pirate in training b) Girls can’t be pirates or c) The calender is a shady unoffical calender which isn’t licenced by disney and so they couldn’t use her image (a pirate-pirate calender if you will)

4) Wensleydale cheese and christmas cake combo snacking. You really should try this even if you’re not from Yorkshire

5) Some messianic goings on in a stable, or some such… 🙂

Your handy cut out and keep guide to Christmas shopping

It’s the time of year where high streets and shopping precincts become darwinian battle grounds. All of the following are hazards to be avoided as you struggle wo/manfully with the contents of your shopping bags.

1) Parents – You will often find entire flotillas of pushchairs and prams easing their way through crowds like Soviet era battleships on manuvers in the Baltic sea. They will attempt abrupt hard to starboard turns whilsts keeping their squadron like formations. There must be something about becoming a mum that allows you to synchronise pushchair movements with any other mum in the area (mum-radar), thus forming a solid wall of child powered mayhem. Also like battle ships they come accompanied by a Mig fighter escort of slightly older children who proceed in an elliptical orbit roughly centred on the middle pushchair in the formation. Avoid at all costs
2) Goths/Emo/Skaters – There will always be exactly 3 of these in any given (homogenous) group of teenagers These have a habit of stopping directly in front of you, usually to exclaim loudly that their co-goth/skater/emo is "gay". The aggrieved party will then attempt a mild physical swipe at G/S/E one. Remember to duck and weave and avoid the ones on skateboards
3) Old people – old people usually stopped dead in the middle of the pavement to look at the christmas lights or to complain about the behavious of 1) and 2). Old people are only capable of complaining or of aesthetic thought whilst stationary. Or at least the ones that perpetually block me are.

Maxwells demon

Today in work we invented a perpetual motion machine made out of elastic bands, flagrantly violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics as we did so. I should point out that we weren’t supposed to invent a perpetual motion machine (in case anyone from my work is reading this I got a lot of other stuff done today).

The machine works thusly:

One of my fellow temps noticed that his elastic band ball always bounced higher than the height at which it was dropped. We decided that if said rubber ball was made much bigger and had a magnet placed inside it and if it were then placed inside a big vaccuum tube with magnet of reverse polarity at either end it would theoretically bounce forever. If you then encircled the tube with hoops of copper, it would generate current. That current could then be harnessed to power the magnets at either end turning them into electromagnets. Viola perpetual motion.

Would anyone care to point out the flaws with this? There are some put my brain is too tired to see them. I guess heat loss through the wiring would ensure some entropy, but not much in a vaccuum.

War of the Roses redux pt2

I’ve been asked to produce a top 5 ways the Wars of the Roses could have been concluded without violence:

1) Cricket (assuming you could build a time machine that could capture Yorkshire’s best players in their prime, we might have a chance. Alternatively we could send Geoff Boycott back in time Terminator stylee to kill Andrew Flintoff’s mum before his birth. That would require some violence but not much)

2) Beer festival face-off (see entry below)

3) Food off (a variant of 2), and Yorkshire has definitely produced better food (Wensleydale and Yorkshire puddings for example. Except a pie eating contest would result in a win for Lancashire.

4) A quiet fire side chat between the Houses of York and Lancaster could have saved everyone involved a lot of bother (and death)

5) Umm running out of ideas.. a sheep shearing competition?

War of the roses redux

The mighty Ship and Mitre pub (in Liverpool) has had a mini War of the Roses themed beer festival. Obviously there were far less fatalities than the original (If only the houses of Lancaster and York had settled their differences using a beer festival instead of a war in the first place..). Obviously I went along to support Yorkshire – Merseyside, technically being part of Lancashire, is enemy territory to me but instead of grenading the place and killing everyone present, I did my bit by buying a pint of Yorkshires finest instead. They also had a choice of yorkshire puddings or lancashire hotpot as bar snacks. Needless to say it was the best trip to a pub I’ve had in ages