Monday, 31 December 2007

There was no hesitation, either. Joe knows his friends, and he also knows those who are missing from that list.

Coo. Quiet round here, isn't it? Cobwebs and everything. Ah well, maybe I'll do better in the new year. I'll have a go, anyway. In the meantime, happy new year, and here is the latest in a very occasional series (by which I mean I've done it once before, and I'm doing it now): My Favourite Guess In The Game Of Articulate This Christmas Season:

Karl (describing 'stranger'): Someone you don't know!
Joe: Emily!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Also, I'm afraid I killed the French ambassador.

Every morning when I have my bath, my bleary eyes rest on my girlfriend's shampoo bottle, directly opposite me. And every morning, in that highly receptive and barely conscious state, I read, over and over again, the sentence they've chosen to emblazen on the back of it:

'Get A More Dazzling Blonde!'

Now, luckily, my current blonde is more than dazzling enough for me. But still, I can't help thinking Derren Brown would advise her she's playing with fire.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

The public need to know.

‘Badger’ is a very overused comedy word, we can all agree on that. But that doesn’t stop it being funny when you switch on the TV, and are confronted by a stern-looking Jon Snow addressing a huge grim-faced man in suit and tie on his enormous news-screen, and asking him ‘How many badgers do you have to kill?’

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Ho hum, it's that time of the year again. Here comes a commercial.

Well, it's probably time to direct the merciless glare of my self-publicity on the people who diligently and inexplicably check back here for what is fast becoming a bi-monthly update. Hello, you chaps. Would you like to come to a sketch night? The reason I ask is, I have a sketch night. Here is a book which confirms that.

There. Told you I did. So, if my drawing of Stalin next to a seahorse has intrigued and excited you, and made you receptive to an hour of sketches one of which is tangentally related to Stalin, and none of which have anything whatsoever to do with a seahorse, why not turn up at the Hen and Chickens in Islington on Thursday or Friday at 9:30? Eh? Why not? What possible reason could there be not to?

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Deadly Skunk Floods London

...According to an Evening Standard billboard I passed this week.

Well, this clearly raises more questions then it answers.
1) How much of London has the Deadly Skunk flooded? I must live in a high-lying area of London, because it all seems fairly dry round here, but perhaps the flood waters are rising inexorable towards me.
2) What was the Deadly Skunk's motive? Does he despise London, perhaps due to a formative time in his youth when a tour-bus full of Londoners sneered at his stripe; or is it just that London is an easy city to flood, thanks to the Thames barrier?
3) Given that skunks are not indigenous to Britain, why was the Deadly Skunk allowed past customs and immigration? Given that he has earned the soubriquet 'Deadly', he clearly has past form, possibly from gassing Milan, or triggering a volcano under Sacrimento. Surely he should have been turned back at the airport? No, mark my words, there is more to this apparently simple story of a North American rodent bent on the destruction of a city than meets the eye.

Didn't make me buy a paper, though.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

How to remove stains from carpets - a pocket guide.

Red wine - White wine.
White wine - Red wine.
Rose wine - More Rose wine. Strange but true.
Tea - Coffee
Coffee - Cocoa
Cocoa - Tippex
Blood - Ring the police, and ask what they use. Be careful of arousing suspicion, however.
Books - These can simply be picked up.
Magma - Leave to dry, then chip off with chisel.
Unicorn Urine - This is largely academic. Since you ask, though: vinegar.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Presumably not THE Penelope Wilton. Unless she has a greater interest in the exploits of Mickey Mouse's dog Pluto than you would think to look at her.

Hey, Honeys, I'm home. The battle royale between me and the French is over, and we've decided to call it a draw. Under the terms of our peace agreement, I am to return to England, and stop eating all their cheese; and they are to buy some proper pillows for their beds, and stop pretending those weird long tubular bolster things will do.

Anyway, this weekend I've been sorting through some old stuff of mine that's been cluttering up my Mum's attic. Amongst it was a book I had when I was a little boy, which was evidently second hand when I was given it, and had the original owner's name in the 'This book belongs to...' space. For some reason, rather than simply cross it out, I appear to have tackled the problem laterally. The inscription now reads:

This book belongs to... Penny Wilton. No. John Finemore.

Pretty strident, coming from someone who can't spell his own name.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

And thirty quid's worth of crackers.

Well, I think we all knew the old 'maybe I'll occasionally update this from internet cafes' plan was a bit of a non-starter, didn't we? Never mind. I'm still in France, as it happens, but I'm no longer canoeing down any of it, walking across any bits of it, or lolling by the pools of any of its chateaus. Instead, I've found myself a nice dull hotel room in a nice cloudy bit of France, and I'm holing myself up trying to finish something I'm been trying to finish for about a year and a half, before Real Life starts up again.

Anyway, my anonymous correspondent below might wish to pour herself a glass of whisky and hang on tight, because here comes another story about how I'm not very good at French. Today, there was a market in the village, and as I wandered through it, the lady at one of the 47 enormous cheese stalls offered me, of all things, a bit of cheese. I tasted the bit of cheese. It was quite nice. I told her so, and wandered off again. Later, as I wandered back she caught my eye and said (I think) 'You tasted it... aren't you going to buy it?'. In a nice jokey way, but still. I panicked. Maybe in France you only accept a taste if you're going to buy, I thought, in spite of the fact that a) I know perfectly well that's not true, and b) if it was true, it would make the tasting ever so slightly redundant, wouldn't it? Nonetheless, although I didn't want any cheese, and if I had I wouldn't have picked that cheese, I caved, and asked for 'a little slice.' She cut me an amount which made me assume that I'd confused either the French words for 'little' and 'vast'; or 'slice' and 'mountain'. I asked for half of it. This was apparently very funny, and we both laughed about it for a while. Then she wrapped up the whole slice, and asked me for quinze Euros. At which point my brain, presumably incapable of imagining a slice of cheese worth fifteen Euros, blew a fuse, and allowed me to confuse 'quinze' with... 'quatre'. 'Phew' I thought 'Only four Euros. I was worried it might be expensive...' And so it is that I am now the proud possessor of fifteen euros worth of average cheese. For comparison, yesterday I spent fifteen Euros on a three course dinner. Including cheese.

Friday, 20 July 2007

I have my suspicions about 'Tripous', though.

I have invented a game to play at restaurants here called 'French Roulette'. To play, you require a menu, and a very hazy grasp of the French language. Then, rather than doing what I used to do, and having one of the four or five things I could identify, you pick the most impenetrable looking phrase, ask for it, and cross your fingers it isn't liver. Yesterday, for instance, I went for 'coquilles de Saint-Jacques', on the grounds that they sounded like they might well be holy relics. In fact, they were bits of fish on a stick. But very nice bits of fish. Then I ordered 'coupe de fraises', probably because the word 'coupe' had subconciously made me expect something rather special- as if the chef had turned to the sous-chef and said 'You know, Serge, I think I've pulled off something of a coup with these fraises!' Then they turned up. And I realised that if so, the rest of the conversation would have gone like this:

SERGE: Really, Jean-Claude? Why, what have you done with them?
JEAN-CLAUDE: Well, I've cut them in halves...
SERGE: Mon Dieu!
JEAN-CLAUDE: Let me finish, Serge! I've cut them into halves... and then I've put them in a bowl.
SERGE: You, mon ami, are a culinary genius. But aren't those the fraises we've had in the freezer for two years?
JEAN-CLAUDE: The very same. And what I've rather cleverly done is only let them three-quarters thaw, so there's still a little frozen bit in the middle of each one. Like a baked Alaska in fruit form.
SERGE: Maestro. You stand alone.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

That ç, by the way, is the nearest thing I can find on this keyboard to a question mark.

I'm away at the moment, going down the Dordogne in a canoe, because that's how middle class I am. Though having said that, earlier this year I spent a week in a holiday complex in Lanzarote; and later some chums and I are going to spend a week in a chateau. So who knows what class I amç (Answer: I do. I'm middle class, and there's nothing I can do about it.)

Anyway, it's going well so far - the water level is very high, which is good for not having to carry my canoe over dried up bits, but bad for making the rapids very rapid indeed. I had no idea I could swear so hard at water.

I shall try to put something up here whenever I get on line. Got to go now, it's half past twelve, so naturally the shop-owner is impatient to shut up shop and embark on his five hour lunch.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Very well respected family, the Vincehires.

Another sign that you are, in fact, a grown-up now:

The example birth date on forms is now sometimes more recent than your own.

Another sign that you, despite your newly discovered 'grown-up' status, are nonetheless watching far too much 'Sopranos':

You see a van with VINCEHIRE written on the side, and read it as 'Vinch-e-hiray'.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

And now a message on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Philistines

Also whilst in Amsterdam, I visited the city's major art gallery, the Rijksmuseum. Unfortunately, it was being refurbished, and almost all of the collection was closed off - only a small selection of 'masterworken' were available to view in one wing of the gallery. Fortunately... this was perfect! Come on, any grown ups inexplicably reading this, please avert your eyes, but the rest of us... isn't this precisely what we want? There were two floors of exhibits; it took me about an hour and half to get round it - I could have done it in an hour if I'd been in training- and when I left, I'd seen everything there was to see. No hang-dog feeling of guilt about those rooms full of medieval madonnas and childses guiltily scuttled past to get to the good stuff. No shifty memories of just looking at the first and last panels of the 24 canvas Hideous Martyrdom of St Antifreeze, and telling myself I'd probably got the gist. No, I spent half an hour downstairs warming up with pen and ink drawings of naval battles and silver ewers in the shape of bottoms, then upstairs, and Wam! - Vermeer!; Boom!- Franz Hals!; Kapow!- Rembrandt! and I'm on my way rejoicing.

I therefore hereby recommend the following two point plan to all the major art galleries of the world: 1) Go into "refurbishment" immediately, and permanently, and put your greatest hits into a modest bungalow next door. 2. More bottom-shaped ewers.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

I mean, if it was a seasick dragon, I could understand...

I went to Amsterdam this weekend. I hadn't been before- what a lovely place it is. Whilst there, I read this:

'According to legend, Amsterdam was founded by two fishermen and a seasick dog, which ran ashore and threw up on the site of the city when their ship ran aground. The reality, sadly, is rather more mundane.'

More mundane than a vomiting dog? Crikey.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Frequently Questioned Answers.

  • It wasn't me!
  • Nothing's the matter.
  • I had to work late at the office.
  • It fell off the back of a lorry.
  • I'm almost sure it's the red wire.
  • Because I say so.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are we nearly there yet?
  • What time do you call this?
  • Is anyone sitting there, mate?
  • What do you call a man with a spade on his head?
  • How do you do?
  • Where have all the flowers gone?
  • Can I help you?
  • Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
  • Where's the loo?

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Free Bees

Today's book of choice is the excellent 'Proceedings of the Sixth European Bee Conference'. Now, you might think any organisation able to submit this title to their publishers would be entitled to sit back with a feeling of a job well done. It's a very good title. But not the International Bee Research Association. They went the extra mile. 'Proceedings of the Sixth European Bee Conference' is merely the sub-title of this great work. The title is... 'Bees Without Frontiers'.

IBRA, I salute you.

Monday, 11 June 2007

They don't, though. They DON'T jar.

I don't understand the Maestro credit card ad campaign. I mean those black and white posters with slogans like: 'There's a reason machines spit out coins', 'R.I.50p' and 'Coins Jar'. What are they trying to get us to do? Stop using coins? Coins are really useful! How do Maestro think they're going to brainwash us into not believing coins are useful? Is their advertising agency's dream that one day, I'll fancy a Kit-Kat, and thanks to their clever indoctrination think to myself: 'Oh no, here comes that dreadful and laborious business of getting a fifty pee out of my pocket, and giving it to the man! I can hardly bear the sheer tedium and difficulty of it... Ah, but wait! I've just remembered - Maestro, so I am reliably informed by those helpful posters, is the new cash! No more terrible coin-handing-over ordeal for me - all I have to do is produce my Maestro card, watch the assistant sigh, put it in the chip and pin machine, wait for it to be recognised, no luck, take it out and rub the magnetic strip with the corner of my shirt, put it back in, ah, that's better, enter my pin, wait for that to be recognised, enter it again because I absent-mindedly put in my credit card pin not my debit card pin, wait for it to be recognised.... oh dear, slow connection today... Ah, there we go, take out my card, wait for the reciept, and the Kit-Kat is mine! R.I.50p indeed! Sorry, mate, what was that? Big Issue? Yeah, ok! Where's your chip and pin machine?'

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Don't tell anyone I told you this.

Banner strapline on the front page of the Evening Standard yesterday:

'Win Tickets to Secret Paul McCartney Gig!'

Oh, Paul, Paul... this mania for secrecy will surely destroy you...

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Things I learnt today about legal contracts in China during the Tang dynasty.

Illiterate signatories signed contracts by drawing lines indicating the place of their finger joints on their middle finger. Men used the middle finger of their left hand; women the right.

'Ambulance chaser' clerks who went round villages persuading peasants to file suits or amend contracts were known contemptuously as 'Men With Brushes In Their Hats'.

A man could divorce his wife if she committed any of the 'seven outs': failed to bear children, committed adultery, stole, disobeyed his parents, was jealous, contracted a fatal disease, or... talked too much.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Turns out you're supposed to take that triangular thing off the balls before you start...

Yesterday, a friend and I went to a snooker hall in Camden, and played, of all things, snooker. At the table next to us were a big fat guy in his sixties, and a little wiry guy in his twenties - possibly, but not definitely, father and son. As the session went on, the younger guy was getting more and more furious at the older guy's refusal to compliment him on his good shots. What was great was how his tactics evolved.
First he tried querulousness: 'Ain't you going to say 'nice shot' then? Ain't you even gonna say it?'
Then he tried over-compensation 'Oh! What a brilliant shot! The boy's on FIRE tonight!'
Then he tried sarcasm 'No... please... all these compliments... really, it's too much... I'm embarrassed'
Then he tried retaliation 'Oh no! What a terrible miss! You must feel so stupid! That was an awful shot!'
Finally, he tried getting us involved: 'I'm sorry... did you guys hear something just then? Did someone say 'good shot'? I couldn't hear it myself...'

And all the time the older guy played stolidly on, creeping up on the younger guy's lead until eventually, right at the end, the younger guy sunk the cue ball whilst trying to pot the black - and the older guy, without saying a word, started replacing the balls on the table for the next game. It turned out the younger guy had automatically forfeited the game. I didn't know about that rule. Neither, it turned out, did the younger guy. And if we hadn't been there, I'm sure fairly sure the older guy would have wound up in Camden Hospital A and E, for surgical removal of a snooker cue.

Meanwhile, at our table, it very quickly became apparent that there was a violent mis-match between the serious, professional, 'Fast Eddie' look of this dim hall full of huge snooker tables, and our - particularly my - utter incompetence at snooker. It was like watching someone on the centre court at Wimbledon, playing Swingball. Badly. This is not false modesty - I really am dreadful. It's not just that I can't do it, it's that I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, or how to try to do it better. I'm basically just a monkey with a stick. But- and this is what I found funny, at least afterwards - none of this stopped me, every so often, picking up the chalk, and thoughtfully chalking my cue. As if that was my problem...

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

If you go down to the woods today, be sure of a big surprise...

Sometimes, the Klan just wanna have fun.

I'm sure a couple of you must be short story writers. If this isn't inspiration on a plate, I don't know what is. Remember, this actually happened. Every one of those men is in that photo; in that costume, and on that ferris wheel for a good reason, which, if we could only ask him, he would be able to explain, and wouldn't find in the least unusual or absurd. I would dearly love to know what that (those) reason(s) is (are).

I dedicate this blog entry to Nelson Mandela. I hope he's grateful.

Kudos to Joseph Alessi, an actor in the new comedy musical The Drowsy Chaperone (which is fun and funny, and recommended so long as you like That Sort Of Thing) not only for being very good, but also for putting the following in his programme biography, after a long list of theatre credits: 'Television includes: the usual array of cops, robbers, medics and patients'. That's the way to do it.

Not so sure about one of his castmates, who ends his biog 'He dedicates his performance to his gorgeous Rebecca'. Which is the sort of thing you can just about get away with if the performance in question is as Romeo or Mark Anthony- but when it's as one of a duo of comedy New York gangsters disguised throughout as pastry chefs... not so much. (And if you didn't know what I meant by That Sort Of Thing before, you do now.)

Friday, 1 June 2007

Samuel L Jackson IS Joe Bowel, the cop who don't take no shit...

Here’s a game you can play on IMDB. Think up eight common two-word phrases or expressions which are not, as far as you know, film titles… but which easily could be. Then make a list of eight more which you think really probably couldn’t. Then check them all on IMDB. Award yourself one point for every title on your first list which has indeed been used, and five points for every title on your second list. (Yes, I realise this scoring system rewards failure in the second list, but don’t worry, it’s not going on your permanent record.) Here’s how I did.


  • Storm Warning - No.
  • Last Words - Yes, in 2002
  • Coming Home - Yes, 1978
  • Danger Money – No, astonishingly.
  • Cat’s Cradle – Yes, not once, not twice, but six times, between 1903 and 2009.
  • Night Terrors – Yes, a treat we have in store this very year, apparently.
  • Learning Curve - No. ‘The Learning Curve’, yes, but not ‘Learning Curve’.
  • Extreme Prejudice – Yes, 1987

Probably Not:

  • Curly Kale – No.
  • Mucus Membrane – No.
  • Cub Camp – No.
  • Machine Washable – No.
  • Kennel Cough – No.
  • Human Resources – No. A Dutch TV documentary, but not a film.
  • Irritable Bowel – No.
  • White Lightning - Yes! Twice – once in 1953 and once in 1973! I suppose if you take away the My First Cider connotations it has in Britain, it’s quite a macho phrase. Just how macho you will appreciate when I tell you that the 1973 release starred Burt Reynolds playing a character named… Gator McCluskey. Now that’s a name. To family and friends reading this: I hereby announce that I wish from now on to be known as ‘Gator McCluskey’. I will respond to no other name. Thank you.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

So, that was May then...

Ok, let's face it, this blog is increasingly looking like it’s on its last legs. It's bravely struggling on, bless it, but it's blind in one eye, and has lost most of its teeth, and keeps bumping into walls. And I’m probably going away in July and August, so this is kill or cure time. Here’s a plan. I’m going to try and post something – however short, ill-thought-out, or asinine – every weekday in June. If I can manage this, it might be worth carrying on with it when I get back from my trip; if not, I’ll do the decent thing and take it on that final one-way trip to the vet's....

Let’s find out which.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Why, who will it help?

Sometimes when I'm watching or reading the news, I get an uneasy feeling that it's to no-one's benefit that I'm seeing this. Obviously the video made by the Virginia Tech killer is a recent example of this, but there are other, subtler ones all the time, even in news media I respect.

"Watch Natallie Evans' reaction"? Do you know what, I'm not entirely certain it's necessary that I do.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

I wouldn't marry you if you were...

According to the BBC:

'Duncan Larcombe, the Sun's royal correspondent, told BBC Five Live: "The last person on earth who's going to be pressured by newspaper columnists and television chat shows to get married is Prince William."'

People on earth who may temporarily have slipped Duncan Larcombe's mind:

Mr. Samat Ozer, a washing machine repairman from Trabzon, Turkey.
Mrs. Rosa Inez Alverez, a great-grandmother from Turillo, Venezuela.
Mr. Yan Shujian, a goatherd from Xing'an province, Inner Mongolia.
Pope Benedict XXVI.
Duncan Larcombe.
In fact, given that I cannot think of anyone else at all who IS being pressured by columnists or chat shows (why chat shows? Does William even go on chat shows? Surely not) to get married... Everyone else in the world.

Or, alternatively, Mr. Larcombe may have inadvertently used the word 'last' when in fact he meant... 'first'. It's easily done.

Monday, 2 April 2007

You can always go and GET the arrow, surely? Lazy, lazy Omar.

Quote on repulsive 'Promoting Creativity' leaflet lying around the office I've borrowed:

"Four things never come back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past and the neglected opportunity."

Omar Idn Al-Halif.

Wise words, Omar. Though to be honest, item three on your list - the past - sort of encompasses at least two of the other three. But if you're going to be so specific, why stop there? Here's my revised and improved version.

"Amongst the many, many things that never come back are the following nine things:
The spoken word.
The spent arrow.
The past.
The neglected opportunity.
The ill-trained dog.
The stick.
The Global Hypercolor T-shirt.
The deadbeat Dad.
The HMS Titanic.

But hey, it's not all bad news! Four things that DO come back:
The boomerang
The spawning salmon
The Last of the Summer Wine
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

John Finnemore (Based on an original, but stupid, idea by Omar Idn Al-Halif)


Monday, 26 March 2007

Why yes, as a matter of fact I do live in Islington. However did you guess?

Er… hello. Remember me? I used to write stuff here. KQ’s last comment has shamed me into returning to this blog, if only because I cannot bear to see that blameless man take the rap for the truly atrocious novel I plan to write in my forties.

Yesterday, I saw a shop called ‘Essentials’. Subtitled ‘Aromatherapy for people, houses and dogs’ Has there ever been a more triumphant misuse of the word ‘Essential’?

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Must try harder.

Well, this hasn't been a vintage month for my blog, has it? Sorry about that. I've had a big old project to complete, which meant long days spent doing lots of writing, which meant not very many interesting things to write about here, and a disinclination to write any more away. A pretty fatal combination, as it turned out. Anyway, I'm off away for a week now, back next Tuesday, when normal service will, I hope, be resumed.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Yeah, it's somewhere in the back there... underneath all those old props from the fake moon landing.

Hoo, it's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry.

Anyway, according to the BBC:

A previously unreleased film of President John F Kennedy's motorcade has revealed new details of the final moments before his assassination. The silent film shows the president and his wife Jackie shortly before the fatal shot was fired. Amateur photographer George Jefferies held onto the film for more than 40 years believing it was unimportant.

Yeah, it's amazing the junk you hold on to, isn't it? Junior's milk teeth; the licence for that old Buick you had, what, thirty years ago; video footage of the moments leading up to the most hotly contested events of the twentieth century... You know it's all rubbish, but somehow you can't bring yourself to let go.

The article goes on to say:
The new film only came to light when Mr Jefferies mentioned it in conversation to his son-in-law, Wayne Graham.

That must have been quite a conversation.

So, Pop, do you remember where you were when JFK was shot?

Well, let me see... yup, I was in Dallas. Dallas, Texas.

What? You were in Dallas! How come you didn't go see the motorcade?

Oh, I did. Wouldn't have wanted to miss that.

My God! I bet you must've wished you took your video camera along, like that Zapruder guy...

Yeah, I took it along alright.

You took it!? So... what happened? Didn't the film come out? Did the feds take it off of you?

No, no. I still got it someplace. Why... you want to see it?

YES! Why have you never shown us this before!?

Oh... you know... no-one wants to be the boring guy who's always making you watch his holiday films...

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Round up the usual suspects.

List of my possessions currently not working or working imperfectly:

My printer
My camera
My mp3 player
My nose

List of people I suspect of being to blame for the above:

The Samsung Corporation of Korea.
No prime suspect as yet.
The ginger haired woman who sat opposite me on a crowded tube and coughed continuously for twenty minutes, dammit.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Book I'm pretending to read today: 'Vibrational-rotational excitations in nonlinear molecular systems.'

Reviews not found on the back:

‘Vibrational, rotational… sensational!’ The Daily Express.

‘Molecular systems have never been so excitating!’ The Mirror

‘A rip-roaring, block-busting, page-turning romp through the world of multi-quantra intra-molecular transitions in the vicinity of bifurcation points. Don’t read it on public transport – you’ll laugh like a loony!’ The Sunday Times

‘Disappointing’ The New Scientist

Actual first sentence:

“If there would be no God – then what a staff-captain am I?” said one of the characters in a novel by Dostoevskii. In a similar way we can exclaim: “If there would be no nonlinearity – then what physics would that be?”

Difficult to pick my favourite word there: obviously ‘staff-captain’ is very tempting, but I’m going to have to go for ‘exclaim’.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Still, they also make 'The Thick Of It'.

In the receptions of one of the BBC's buildings, there is a muted television tuned to BBC1, with the subtitles turned on. This means that every time you pass, you get a little captioned snapshot of what the largest public sector broadcaster in the world is all about. When I passed it the other day, this is what was on the screen.

Two men looking at a house.
Caption: 'If this house was a celebrity, what celebrity do you think it would be?'

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

I sneak cooks.

On the back of a cubicle door in the gents at the British Library, someone, possibly under the impression that a survey is being taken, has written ‘I suck cocks’. And underneath, someone else has written ‘I cock snooks’. Excellent.

Friday, 19 January 2007

VERY slow, ideally. You might even like to consider stopping.

Cuh. Windy out, isn't it? Luckily, the police force is there to serve and protect us whatever the weather. For instance, a large tree has been blown down in Borehamwood, but the local bobbies have lost no time in springing into action with a prudent warning:

There. That should do it. Who's for a doughnut?

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

I say Potato, you have no comment to make at this time.

So, what's going on then? Is it:

A) You've all sent me to Coventry as punishment for posting a cutesy picture of the dog?
B) Changing from Blogger to Google Blogger at the start of the year has somehow messed up the 'comment' funtion?
C) You're all hiding until February, when you're going to jump out and shout 'Boo!' at me?

I do realise, of course, that if it is any of these, you won't be able to tell me so. Therefore:

If A), leave a stern and disgusted silence.
If B), leave an apologetic but helpless silence.
If C), leave a hushed but giggly silence.


Monday, 15 January 2007

I looked again, and found it was / A hippopotamus.

I just looked out of my window to see what I thought was an elderly gentleman in a dark business suit and overcoat consulting a pocket watch attached by a chain to his waistcoat. Except of course it wasn’t, because I am not Dickens. He was quite a young man, and it was an mp3 player attached by its headphones to his inside jacket pocket. But the attitude he struck as he stood there looking at it would have been entirely familiar to his great-grandfather.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

But try the one in Jail Road, Lahore.

Book I’m pretending to read at the British Library today:

‘A List of Post Offices In Pakistan (corrected up to 31-5-74)’

So, if you happen to be reading this in Dhari Sayyadan, Jhelum, in 1974, (possibly after a ‘Life on Mars’ style accident), and are hoping to send a telegram, I can exclusively advise you not to get your hopes up. Telegrams are not accepted. Sorry about that.

Friday, 5 January 2007

How can they be so sure?

Seen outside a shop advertising diet supplements:

'Can you pinch an inch? We can pinch up to 12 inches, or more!'

So, either less than twelve, or more than twelve, or twelve. And that's a promise!

Similarly (so similarly as not to deserve its own post) in a little independent video and DVD shop near me:

Sale! All films for £1.99 or less*!

*Excludes some dvds.

Monday, 1 January 2007

May 2007 be full of the things you like, with hardly any of the things you dislike.

(One or two small ones, obviously. Otherwise you'll have nothing to feel hard-done-by about, and where's the fun in that?)

Anyway, happy new year! I've celebrated it by redesigning the appearance of my blog to more exactly resemble a leisure centre swimming pool, and by joining myspace. Because the one thing I really need in my life this year is another way to procrastinate. Oh yes.