Sunday, 28 June 2009

In Which I Am Older But Not Necessarily Wiser

Henry VIII and I have a lot in common. We were both born in Greenwich - he in what was known then as Greenwich Palace (and is now the Old Royal Naval College), I in Greenwich Hospital (which was demolished in 2006 and is now probably a block of flats, I would imagine). We both have beards, if the paintings of him are in any way an accurate reflection of the man. We both favour the larger bodyshape, although he tended to prefer the legging which is not, I have to say, one of my own favoured items of clothing (I only wear them on special occasions). We also have a penchant for rejecting the authority of the papacy in Rome and setting ourselves as head of a newly established Church of England... oh no, wait, that was just him, actually. I get us mixed up sometimes.

We also shared this very day as being that of the one on which we were born - admittedly, his was nearly five hundred years before mine, but still...

All of which is an extremely roundabout way of saying that I'm another year older and yet still fairly clueless. All things going to plan, I shall lying in a stupor at this point, possibly vowing never to touch another drop of alcohol ever again for the rest of my life until I meet up with some mates for more drinks on Thursday. Yes, I'm writing this in advance as I have no intention of doing any actual writing on my birthday. Day off. So this is coming to you from the very slight past. I'm hoping that the future world you're reading this in has flying cars and cool laser guns for everyone but I might be hoping for a little too much change in 24 hours. Still, a man can dream...

Saturday, 27 June 2009

In Which I Am Nostalgic

Thanks to the wonder of listening to musics via my ears, I was reminded the other day just how much I like a bit of old school early nineties indie/rock and, thanks to the medium of the interwebs, I can share with you exactly what it was that made me think of times gone by.

(Can't actaully seem to find the proper video for this one)

Friday, 26 June 2009

The New Chuck Norris?

You remember those Chuck Norris facts that used to do the rounds a while back? Well, Twitter recently attempted to create the same sort of thing for the world's explodiest film director, Michael Bay. Here are some of the top results:-

- Michael Bay once made an explosion so big it never went out - we now call it the sun

- Michael Bay wears special glasses which help him see the real world exploding in CGI and dollar signs all the time.

- Before sex, Michael Bay always says in his best Sean Connery voice, "Welcome to the Rock."

- Michael Bay makes approximately $175 million on every one of his bowel movements (which smell a little bit like popcorn).

- For his morning workout, Michael Bay blows up buildings and runs away from the explosions.

- Michael Bay lost his virginity before his dad did.

- Michael Bay was preceded down the birth canal by a dove in slow motion. And followed by a column of flame.

- The real reason there are so many tornadoes in the Midwest is because Michael Bay is allergic to cats.

- Michael Bay has 2 speeds: Slow motion and on fire.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

In Which Someone Else Takes Over...

So, a while back, I threw down the gauntlet and asked for guest postage and, so far, only one of you has been man enough to come up with some words to put here and she's a girl with girl parts and everything. Her name is Tish Tash, she loves swearing and...well, swearing, mostly, and she can be found over at My Telephone Booth (where she has been known to swear). Here are some wordy-style things what she has very kindly wroted for me (which is particularly brilliant as her email arrived while I was sat here thinking that I had nothing to post today so screw you, Universe, I win!):-

Ahoy there, Readers of The Nick, The Nack, The Blog Attack!

Well there goes my weekly store of enthusiasm. However shall I react when I get my paycheck? Oh right, with my usual indifference because it’s going straight to The Bastard Landlord who has my ovaries in a vice. See? I'm flexible.

Sir Fella was kind enough to sub in for me while I was on vacation so I thought I'd return the favor while he goes off to work / to sleep / to wank off (Hey look Ma! I’m British!) / to the pub / to a midnight showing of Beaches / hey hey, I don’t judge.

Of course I’m the perfect person other than Baldy to post on here because we’re so much alike, except that I’m a lady, and he’s a Fella. And I have hair while he’s bald. And I’m American while he’s a Dirty Foreigner.*

Or maybe we’re nothing alike, but when you strip all that down, what you have left is that we are both People, and isn’t that what matters in the end when you don’t have money or fame to allow you to be a Complete Asshole instead? Kumbaya, etc.

The Great Baldino suggested that I should talk about Americanisms that you Britons might not know about since he wrote about Britishisms when he posted at The Booth. While it made sense for him to do that because we Americans are generally ignorant about every other culture not starting with “A” and ending in “Merican,” it doesn’t make much sense for me to try to educate you about Our Culture because Our Culture, like The Herp, is infectious and you might already have it. Just walk it off.

Therefore, I'm going to yell at you Brit types for a bit instead, yes?
So...what in the name of Thatcher's Titties were you thinking about losing the Revolutionary War? Seriously, you had an entire empire behind you. You know what the Yanks had? One French Guy. Who probably wore make-up. And frilly socks.

Dudes. That's a fail.

I could be saying things like "bloody," and "wicked," and "cheerio," and "cuppa tea" with a kick-ass English accent, but because you Limey fuckers lost, I get to be, all, like, "totally awesome" and "Grande Mocha" instead. Not cool, dudes. Not cool. What? Because the sun never set on your empire, you were all too sleep-deprived to win a war? Guess what would've helped? Coffee, ya damn Redcoats!

Just kidding. I'm just jealous that I don't have the awesome superpower of sounding classy even while saying things like "Oy! Sod off! You're not shoving that up me bum."

Ahhh...I don't know how you guys don't rule the world.

*That joke would’ve worked so much better a year ago before, ya know, the universal collapse of our system thus rendering any challenge we Americans throw down as mere squawking akin to the sounds emitted by a dying duck. Sigh. Them’s the days, huh? At least we can still Blow Shit Up. You should be scared, Rest of the World. Because now we’re armed, and desperate.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Story Arc "Craze"?

I know that this post by Jonathan Wright over at The Guardian is designed to provoke a response and, let's face it, sci-fi fans have notoriously easy buttons to push but, on this occasion, I'm going to rise to the bait. Mainly because I think the points he's raising display a worryingly simplistic and just plain wrong attitude.*

For those of you who don't feel like following the link, his overall argument seems to be that sci-fi TV programmes should just consist of simple, one-off episodes like they all used to before Babylon 5. The main prompt for this being that returning series Torchwood is going for an attention-busting storyline stretched over five whole episodes (however will our tiny minds cope with such an epic tale?).

Not only was the story arc well established in sci-fi television long before Babylon 5 (shows from Quatermass through to Doctor Who and Sapphire And Steel had multi-episode storylines and even series like Blake's 7 had ongoing plot threads) but the idea that having a over-arching storyline precludes you from crafting individual stand alone episodes is ridiculous. You only have to look at shows such as Buffy, Angel and Farscape to see examples of shows which were able to create excellent self-contained episodes while still providing a well-thought out story arcs.

He also seems to have confused himself as to the genre of some of these shows. "Try looking for the gags in the final series of Battlestar Galactica"? Well, I take his point that the last episodes of the show could be unrelentingly grim but it's a character-based, sci-fi drama. It's unlikely to have "gags" as it's not a sitcom. Surely looking for them in the first place would be something of a waste of time?

I'm not saying that every show should have an ongoing storyline. It's definitely true that The X-Files' attempts to create an ongoing arc were ultimately frustrating, unsatisfying and irritating but that's an example of it not being done well. Done well, it can be an immensely satisfying thing.

I guess we see things differently. Mr Wright seems to prefer shows which you can leap into at any point without having to know any of the backstory. But, personally, any show which has such a limited amount of character or plot development that it makes no odds whether you join in on the first or the tenth series just doesn't appeal to me. For me, the beauty of the story arc is that it rewards your loyal viewing with development, with change and, if it's been properly planned and executed, with resolution. I'd rather have TV that challenges me, that draws and maintains my attention as opposed to something that was left to stagnate.

*Fortunately, most of the people who've commented on the article seem to be a similar opinion.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Holy Twenty Years, Batman!

As it is twenty years today since Tim Burton's Batman film was released (in the States, at least) and it's largely responsible for beginning my interest in all things Dark Knight-y, let's have a quick appraisal of that first run of Bat-films, shall we? You know, the ones before Christopher Nolan came in and made them even grimmer and grittier.

The One Where:- Michael Keaton pouts and Jack Nicholson steals the show.
The Highlights:- The Gothic architecture. The title music (which I now associate with Batman: The Animated Series). And Jack Nicolson hamming it up as The Joker and running off with the film.
The Lowlights:- Kim Basinger's fairly wet and boring as Vicki Vale. Plus killing off Nicholson at the end of the film was a mistake (and set the pattern for the films to follow). Your basic supervillian should always be presumed dead...
Overall:- A good start but definite room for improvement. My second favourite of this run.

Batman Returns
The One Where:- Michelle Pfeiffer wears a PVC catsuit. And some other stuff happens.
The Highlights:- Michelle Pfeiffer in a PVC catsuit (I was 16 - this was a formative experience for me). DeVito's Penguin is suitably grotesque. And the design is dark yet comic-booky again. There's also more of a sense of fun and enjoyment in this one with the more perverse nature of the whole dressing-up-as-a-superhero thing brought to the fore.
The Lowlights:- Killing off villains yet again. And everyone seems to find out who Batman is. He's rubbish at keeping his secret identity a secret (this affliction also seems to plague Peter Parker in the films).
Overall:- Michelle Pfeiffer in a PVC catsuit. Oh wait, did I mention that? No surprise, then, that this is my favourite.

Batman Forever
The One Where:- It all starts to go a bit wrong...
The Highlights:- Jim Carrey is actually quite fun as The Riddler (first time round) and at least Joel Schumacher is trying to make his own imprint on the design, combining the Gothic with a more garishly-coloured side which kind of works.
The Lowlights:- Tommy Lee Jones is playing someone called Two-Face who is completely unrelated to the comic character. Val Kilmer appears to be on valium. And nobody really wanted to see Robin, to be honest. And after a while, Jim Carrey starts to grate.
Overall:- Fun in places but it's starting to lose it now.

Batman And Robin
The One Where:- It's shit.
The Highlights:- None. Its shit.
The Lowlights:- All of it. It's shit.
Overall:- Feel free to hazard a guess. I cannot bear this film. Everything about it poorly judged and executed. Avoid it at all costs.

Monday, 22 June 2009


While searching for blog stuff to write
His brain was incredibly light
He thought, "Ah, sod this,
I'll give it a miss
And try again tomorrow night"

Sunday, 21 June 2009

What's In A Name?

Kate and I have been watching a selection of Ealing comedies this weekend (Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Man In The White Suit, Passport To Pimlico) and it struck us that are names that you just don't hear very often these days. Here are some names which I reckon are overdue for a return to everyday surname use:-

Mainwaring (pronounced "Mannering" for those of you outside of good old Blighty)

Actually, a lot of those seem to begin with F. Obviously more pleasing to say. How about you? Any favourites?

* With you on that one, Irish Gumbo

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Friday, 19 June 2009

Things What Are Great #15 - Little Shop Of Horrors

In a nutshell:- A man-eating plant, a sadistic dentist and some great songs. What's not to love?

The Basics:- Based on an off-Broadway musical which was itself based on a cheap 1960 B-movie*, it tells the story of Seymour, a poor young lad who finds a strange and interesting new plant which makes his life start to turn around - the only drawback being that the plant has a voraciously carnivorous appetite... Directed by Frank Oz (yep, he of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear fame) and featuring the full might of the Jim Henson Creature Workshop being brought to bear in realising the plant, Audrey II, the film wasn't a huge hit at the time but has since become a recognised classic thanks to the magic of VHS and DVD.

Why's It So Great Then?:- Oh, the reasons are manifold. First up, let's mention the plant itself. It's a triumph of practical effects and still holds up against any CGI-based effect you'd get today. In particular, the mid-size version of the plant which sings Feed Me is amazingly expressive and it's always more convincing when the actors visibly have something to work off. The full-size version at the end of the film employed around 50 puppeteers to operate it - something that you're hard pushed to find now (two blokes and a couple of Macs seems to be standard). Secondly, it has one of Steve Martin's finest performances as the sadistically vicious dental surgeon Orin Scrivello (D.D.S.). Yes, we all know he's gone massively off the comedy boil nowadays but this is when he still knew how to deliver the goods. Thirdly, and alongside the second point, there are some great performances from the rest of the cast (Rick Moranis is a perfect Seymour) and also a host of nice cameos by a smattering of comedians. The standout? Naturally, it's Bill Murray's masochistic dental patient who foils Steve Martin sadistic ways but nspecial mention must also go to Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops for brining the voice of Audrey II to life. And lastly, it has some really catchy tunes, written by the same team who went on to pen tunes for Disney's Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin.

Surely Some Of It Must Be Rubbish:- Do you know what? I can't think of anything that I don't like about this film. I've watched it many a time in the last twenty-odd years (yep, it's that old) and I imagine I will watch it many more times in the years to come.

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?:- Definitely, it's funny, it has some great effects and singalonga catchy tunes. The only problem is that you might find the tunes get stuck in your head for some to come afterwards...

* Shot in two days by Roger Corman, king of the no-budget B-movie, and featuring an appearance by Jack Nicholson in one of his first screen roles, fact fans

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Brain fuzzy
Must think
Make words
Make words run together into sentence-y thing
But not enough
More thinking
That's not thinking, that's just staring
Buzzing noise
It really is a fly this time
Look at the size of it!
Are they supposed to be that big?
Not sure
Not a flyologist
Is that a word?
It is now
Distraction over
Not working
No words
Can't think
Brain fuzzy

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Sound asleep
Buzzing noise
Still buzzing
Still buzzing
Switched off alarm
Must be the phone
Car's here
Get up
Wallet, pass and keys
(iPod, must take iPod)
Out the door
Get in!
In car
Headphones in
Press play
Eyes closed
Day begins...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Read, Read, Read, Read, Read

I read quite a lot. This is not news to anyone. These speccy four-eyes what I have got have been well and truly earned by years and years of wearing down my optic nerves with many, many words (it's true, you ask any eyematrician and they'll tell you this is exactly how your eyes work). However, when I have a need (a need to read!), I'm often faced with the trauma of indecision as to what I should be reading. As such, I'll have many different options on the go in order to satisfy the ever-present wordy cravings. So, in old-fashioned Top Of The Pops fashion except without the rankings and order of preference (so not really in Top Of The Pops fashion at all, really), here's what's currently passing in front of my eyes. Some of these get dedicated chunks of reading time, some of these simply get picked up en route to The Thinking Room (you know the one I mean).

Back issues of 2000AD - Being that this comes out every week and I singularly fail to read it every week, inevitably, I am constantly anything from a few months to a year behind. I'll catch up in the end - only to fall behind again as the entire process starts all over again. It's the circle of weekly comics.

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds - Which I have already read but I got some more of his books recently and it's been so long since I read this one that I needed to refresh the old memory before going on to the next. That's another thing - I read so much that I'm perfectly capable of pretty forgetting entire books (except for the overall gist). Which is great because it means I can read and enjoy them again. Bonus.

Our Movie Year by Harvey Pekar - Perfect for dipping in and out as they're short little comic strips about everyday life. If you've seen the film American Splendor, you'll have an idea what this is about. If you haven't seen it, then I recommend it as it's a great film - an intriguing combination between documentary, biopic and animation.

Thrill Power Overload - The warts and all story behind the scenes of 2000AD's first thirty years. It's a surprisingly candid book (which originally featured in Judge Dredd Megazine as a series of articles and was later expanded) in which the major players are unafraid to share their honest feelings and opinions about the comic and each other. Most interesting are the moments it highlights where different people remember events playing out in very different ways!

And, of course, whatever that week's current crop of comics happens to be.

Of course, this still doesn't stop me from looking at the shelves and thinking, "Oh, I want to read that, too". If only I had a few more eyes (preferably non-speccy as that's just gonna cost me a fortune).

Monday, 15 June 2009

Things What Are Great #14 - Terry Gilliam Films

In a nutshell:- That bloke what did the silly cartoons in Monty Python certainly turned into quite the filmmaker.

The Basics:- He started out working as a satirical cartoonist before moving on to being an animator and was "The Python Who Was Never Onscreen Much" in Monty Python's Flying Circus. He took a keen interest in directing along with Terry Jones when Monty Python And The Holy Grail came along, before branching out on his own with Jabberwocky in 1977 (albeit with fellow Python Michael Palin in front of the camera).

Why Are They So Good Then?:- I think that coming from a cartooning/animating background has definitely helped to shape his distinctive visual style. Gilliam quite often combines a grubby, battered, broken-down, realistic look (the crumbling and dust-strewn castle in Jabberwocky, the nightmarish tubes and piping of Central Services in Brazil, Napoleon's war-torn France in Time Bandits) along with the purely fantastical (the Jabberwocky itself, Sam Lowry's winged dream sequences, the Time of Legends) to give his films a real shifting dreamlike quality. He also still knows how to deliver funny stuff - Brazil, bleak as it is, has some great moments of humour as do Time Bandits, Jabberwocky, the much-underrated Baron Munchausen and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

Surely Some Of Them Must Be Rubbish:- Sadly, his recent efforts do seem to have gone off the boil. The Brother Grimm was passable enough but ultimately forgettable and Tideland suffered from having an unlikeable child performer as a lead coupled with a distinctly unengaging story. Some of the blame for this could possibly laid at the feet of his legendary refusal to brook any studio interference (Brazil and Baron Munchausen were both the subject of extremely well-documented battles with the studio while production on The Brothers Grimm was shut down for some time due to arguments with the distributors) along with the almost supernaturally unfortunate bad luck that seems to dog him as anyone who has seen the hilarious but heartbreaking documentary, Lost In La Mancha, will know (it documents Gilliam's attempts to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote which is ultimately abandoned due to a serious of mishaps).

So We Should Seek Out These Things Of Which You Speak?:- Personally, all of his films up to Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas are absolutely worth a watch. The Brothers Grimm I can take or leave and Tidleand is, in my opinion, really best avoided altogether. If you any interest in surreal, black comedy with a distinctive visual slant and, in most cases, a hefty slice of dystopia then Terry Gilliam films are the ones for you.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Lazy Sunday

Yep, you're getting a couple of videos today as it's a lovely day and I'm venturing outside 9I know, scary thought, outside world, who'd've thunk it?). Seeing as we all love a bit of Muppet-y fun, here's some recent Muppet vids which show they can still deliver the goods.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

People You'd Punch In The Face

Now, before I begin, I would like to state that I am generally by no means a violent person. I favour the tried and tested techniques of not picking a fight when it comes to confrontation (much like fellow baldy Mohandas Gandhi - it's a slaphead thing*). However, we were having the discussion in the office the other day about which famous people you would punch in the face and I have to admit that my ire was raised. Here are my exceptions to my generally non-violent rule:-

3. Jamie Oliver - A vomitingly sanctimonious trendy TV chef. This jumped-up little prat has now set himself as the be-all and end-all in advice on healthy eating for children. His attempts to clean up school dinners in the UK would be laudable if he wasn't so smug and over-bearing about the whole thing. He'd definitely get a smack in the face, the fat-tongued twat.

2. Max Clifford - Scum. Quite simply an utterly vile human being. He describes himself as a "publicist" and makes his living exploiting people who have sordid stories to sell to tabloid newspapers about celebrities. You rarely see a bad word written about him as he'll sue the arse off anyone who dares to print such a thing. In fact, if he ever saw this, I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to sue me for defamation of character. Very hard to defame someone that is an obnoxious excuse for a human being, though.

1. Hugh Grant - It's largely irrational this one but, every time I see his "oh, gosh" foppish face, the red mist descends and the urge to kill rises. In fact, he was the one who prompted this whole discussion as I was shown video of him kicking someone who was following him with a camera. He has single-handedly damaged the image of English people across the world by attempting to make everyone else think that we're all lovable, crumbly, bumbling upper-class fops. Every time he starts stuttering and stammering in that horribly affected way of his, I just want to punch his teeth down his throat. If all Hugh Grant films were wiped off the face of the Earth, it would be a day of much rejoicing in the Baldy Fella's household. Don't try and get me with but-what-about's, they can all go.**

How about you? Who would you most like to give a dry slap to?

* Well, unless you're talking about skinheads. Hmmm, it would seem that baldies occupy all ends of the violent spectrum.

** Alright, OK, I'll let Sirens stay because Elle MacPherson gets her kit off but that's your one and only exception.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Ground To A Halt

For the last two days, London's transport system was held to ransom. A fanatical and blinkered leader led his equally fanatical and misguided followers into action which caused disruption to thousands and cost potentially over a £100 million in lost revenue. These are the sort of actions that are normally branded acts of terrorism and could occasionally lead to said organisation being hunted down by an international task force. However, these acts were perfectly legal and not once was the word "terrorist" bandied about. I'm talking, of course, about the 48 hour strike called by Bob Crowe of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union which halted London's Underground system.

Now, you may be thinking that I'm being a bit heavy handed but, for some time now, Londoners have been subject to the whims of this man and his union and, quite frankly, the limit has been reached. In the past, they've claimed to strike over safety concerns and that seems like a reasonable reason; reasonable until you notice the fact that there's also a demand for a pay rise tacked on there, too. Their demand this time? A 5% annual pay rise and a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies. Seriously? In a global recession when other people are having their pay frozen or cut or, even worse, removed altogether along with their job? What on Earth makes people who sit in a box all day pushing a lever (and already receive a starting salary of £37,000 along with 8 weeks paid leave) deserve to be paid more than people who are teachers or nurses? What garners them special consideration that they need these assurances?

Quite simply, it's bullying and thuggish behaviour that borders on terrorism. Think I'm being a bit too strong? Let's have a look at the dictionary definition:- "terrorism. n. - the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes." Well, I'd say that crippling a capital city's transport system in order to secure more money for yourself counts as "threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes".

So, well done, Bob Crowe. In the midst of a struggling economy, you've generated unprecedented amounts of hatred and bile towards your union members while destroying any last vestiges of sympathy that the public may have for them. Good work, sir, good work.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Broken Record

Each day for 104 days, something. Sometimes, it might only have been something small like a link or a video. Sometimes, it was a snore-inducing essay of epic proportions. But always something.

Until yesterday when I managed to break a 104 day run of continuous daily posting by forgetting to write a blog post. Bum. Ah well, I must admit, over the last month or so, the amount of video posts, links to other sites and good, old-fashioned reposts have been somewhat on the increase so maybe I'll take the foot off the bloggy pedal for a little bit and just post something when I have something to post.

Sure, I'm a lazy bastard and this could mean a steady decline in the frequency of my blog-posting if I'm not pushing myself to write something every day but maybe this will signal an increase in quality over quantity. Of course, this could also be like that time I quit blogging on one site only to start blogging on here 9 days later. So, you know, could go either way. I wouldn't go placing any bets if I were you. Unless you had a sports almanac from 2015 and a time-travelling flying car. Although that didn't work out so well for Biff so maybe you should just forget the whole gambling thing anyway. So, in conclusion then, Back To The Future Part II is good fun. I'm not sure what the original point was but I think we can all agree on that.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


She has a smile that lights up the room, accompanied by an evil glint in her eye that always promises mischief. She has a laugh that's described as "memorable" but one that is impossible not to join in with (she always makes me laugh). She has two lovely children whom she adores with all her heart and would do absolutely anything for, and woe betide anyone who might hurt them in any way. (It should also be noted that her sons can be referred to collectively as "The Baldy Fella Fan Club" - and quite right, too.)

She is my best friend and has been pretty much since we met. She was the first person I met at university nearly 14 years ago and she set the tone for our friendship by getting me to fill in her registration papers for her before suggesting we adjourn to the nearest bar (well, she did have a stinking hangover to overcome - hair of the dog, it's the only way). She somehow has managed not to be annoyed to death by me over the years.

She's one of the strongest people I know (and yet doesn't seem to realise this) and is also extremely vulnerable at the same time. She has a fear of balloons being popped near her (which does make children's birthday parties a slightly more stressful time, especially when someone starts balloon modelling) and prefers to be mildly sedated while flying. She doesn't use the words "toilet", "lounge" or "settee".

She is gorgeous, she is funny and, as well as being my best friend, she's now my girlfriend.

Her name is Kate and I'm all hers. Well, at least until we get older and are so irritated by every tiny habit that we have that we want to stab each other in the eyes as soon as one of us breathes (ah, and who said romance was dead?).

Monday, 8 June 2009

Why Dinosaurs Are Brilliant

By That Baldy Fella, Aged 6 And A Half (Mentally)

Number 1 - They are very big. This means that they can stomp on things which are small which, as we all know, is very cool.

Number 2 - They have sharp teeth for biting things. Except for the vegetarian ones who have have flattened teeth but are usually very big instead which makes them ideal for stomping things (see point number 1).

Number 3 - They make places like the Natural History Museum much more fun because they have bones of these big lizard which were either very bitey or very stompy or both.

Number 4 - Godzilla is a dinosaur and Godzilla is cool therefore dinosaurs are cool.

Number 5 - Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Jurassic Park III.

Number 6 - The Land That Time Forgot, One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, The Valley Of Gwangi.

Number 7 - And, of course, Walking With Dinosaurs, people.

Number 8 - Basically, they're brills and all other extinct animals are bobbins.

The End

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Your Words Here

Because I'm a kind and generous sort of a soul, I'm offering a chance for you to have your say in these pages (which will of course entitle you to full pimping out of your very own blog or website of your choice within the bounds of legality). So either leave me a comment here expressing your interest or email me with your wonderful words of wisdom and you shall have them spread to the world.

What do you mean "short on blogging content yet still determined to post a blog every day"? Look, you would have got a video today but I'm using Mac and have no idea how to copy and paste. If you would like to simulate the video post that would have appeared today, simply go to YouTube and type "Signing for deaf with translation for dumb" into the search box to get another Adam Buxton video that shows how much fun you can have with editing.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Friday, 5 June 2009

I Don't Get It

There are some actors out there that I just don't get the appeal of. They're either not particularly good or not especially attractive and yet somehow they seem to command a fair share of the limelight for reasons that are inexplicable. Here's a couple...

Shia LeBeouf - I mean, seriously, he's bloody everywhere. Looking kind of bland and geeky in Transformers, stinking up the place in Indiana Jones (not that he was alone in that one - all of you involved, hang your heads in shame). There is no real charisma or star power to that boy and yet he's all over the shop. I think I've worked it out actually, now that I think about it. He's this generation's Steve Guttenberg. No one wants one yet everyone has to have one. Give it 15 years and he'll be appearing in pantomime at Bromley Theatre too...

Charlize Theron - I've only ever seen her in two things - Hancock, in which she was blandly inoffensive and Arrested Development, in which she perpetrates crimes against the English accent, Dick-van-Dyke style (honestly, we don't talk like that, you're thinking of Australians). She appears to be an acclaimed actress - and by that I mean that she's a slim attractive lady who's so bloody brave that she's willing to make herself look a bit ugly and fat for a role, bless her - and yet I don't know anyone who's really seen her in anything.

Jason Statham - OK, so with this one, it's not that I think he's a particularly bad actor but I'm not quite sure how he's suddenly taken over the action guy-shaped hole left behind by an ageing Bruce Willis. I mean, he's just one of those slightly Cockney blokes from Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, isn't he? I feel a little bit like I turned away and, when I turned back, suddenly he'd had a massive action career while I wasn't paying attention.

So those are my current choices. Let's throw it open to the floor. Anyone for whom their reason for acting fame escapes you?

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Things What Are Great #13 - I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue

In a nutshell:- Silly jokes and stupid innuendo in one of Radio 4's finest institutions.

The Basics:- It's a simple format and yet it has worked so well since 1972. Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor (of Goodies fame) alongside Barry Cryer and, since 1996, a guest comedian (replacing Willie Rushton who was part of the line-up until his death in 1996) are given silly things to do by chairman Humphrey Littelton. The show has running gags, such as the scorer Samantha whose innocent activities could possibly be seen in a slightly dirtier light and games such as Mornington Crescent, for which the rules have never been explained, and the flipside to that, One Song To The Tune Of Another, for which the rules are lengthily and tortuously explained every time.

Why's It So Great Then?:- It's a lovable, cuddly British institution which exudes a sense of joy all the way through. As most of the panel have worked together for so many years, there's a sense of ease and genuine enjoyment amongst them. It can be proper laugh-out-loud funny at times, too, and surprisingly rude for a Sunday lunchtime radio show. It also has a fine comic creation in that of Humph, the chairman persona that Littelton adopts for the show. As he aged with the show, in recent years, he morphed into a weary and slightly curmudgeonly deadpan character but without ever coming across as nasty or mean-spirited. Sadly, Humph passed away last year at the grand old age of 86 and the show was put on hold.

Surely Some Of It Must Be Rubbish:- Oh yeah, some of the jokes are real duds - proper stinkers. But most of the time, that's precisely the shows charm. It revels in the bad jokes, the awful puns, the dodgy innuendo and makes a virtue out of it. People line up to be guest stars - Stephen Fry, Bill Bailey, Paul Merton, Harry Hill, they've all taken turns in the guest chair (in fact, Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon are all lined up to rotate as guest hosts for the next series in place of the dear departed Humph).

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?:- If you're in the mood for old-fashioned silliness with a healthy dose of good, clean smut then yes, go find some old episodes. I'd say the episodes from 1996 to date tend to be the funnier stuff, to be honest 9no offence to Willie Rushton). It does remain to be seen, however, whether it can carry on without Humph - his contribution to the overall show can't be overlooked and isn't something that can be replaced (and definitely shouldn't be imitated).

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Times Past - Balance Of Power

Three years ago, I was working a temp job as security at Heathrow Airport during the height of the air-terror-paranoia thing. Here's what working strange 10 hour shifts that start at six in the morning do to you, in a post that I like to call "Baldy Classic" and everyone else likes to call "Nick's Too Lazy To Write Something New"...

And lo, it came to pass on the fifth day in the mighty Second Terminal of Heath Row, just west of the city of Lon-Don, that the humble boy's true inner purpose was revealed to him and he was entrusted with the holy talisman of great shamanic power.

They called it the W'Alkie T'Alkie and it was his to wield.

Truly were its powers great. The boy, humble no more and afforded the newfound deference of his peers, discovered a whole new world. He was kept informed by the mystical means of the W'Alkie T'Alkie as to the great Word of Law - the Check-In Desk Opening Times. For it is written in the worshipful Security Briefing that no "passenger" shall be allowed to "check-in" before the desk is open.

And so he roamed the halls and caverns of the Second Terminal, dispensing this wisdom to those who followed the Way of the Yellow Jerkin. And they looked upon their MayFly Sheets and saw that it was good.

That was not all the power that the lad received through the wonder of the W'Alkie T'Alkie. Also, was he able to determine the timing of the breaks and soon his arrival was muchly anticipated amongst the Yellow Jerkined Ones for he provided that elusive object known as "Break Cover". And there was much rejoicing.

However, all too soon, the lad's time as wielder of the otherwordly device drew to a close and he was forced to relinquish his magic talky box. Thus was the mantle passed to those who dwelled in the Shift of the Afternoon. But, the freshly re-humbled boy knew, that tomorrow when the Shift of the Morning came around again, his star would once again be on the ascendance.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Great British Dish

A repost for you today, I'm afraid. Three and a bit years old and it still stands true...

Curry. Wonderful, isn't it? Go on, say it. Curry. Savour the word as it rolls deliciously around your mouth. Cuuuuuurrrrrrrry. Mmmmmm. The mere thought alone is enough to provoke intense salivation and longing. I think if I could be any food, I'd be a curry. And if it was possible to eat take-away curry every day without turning into some earthbound flesh-blimp, then it would be curry every day!

I'm not very adventurous, though. I tend to order the same things most times. I guess that I always want it to taste good and don't want to risk ordering a dish I won't like. So it's either the jalfrezi, the dopiaza or the tikka masala (accompanied by a keema naan and maybe a sag aloo if I'm feeling greedy... which is often). Generally always chicken too - that's not to say I don't enjoy a lamb or a beef curry but, for some reason, they just don't occur to me.

I think maybe I need to start some sort of support group, though - I think it's becoming a problem. My local curry house now recognises my voice when I phone up - surely that can't be a good thing. And I always get extra poppadoms - which is great but that does mean I always eat extra poppadoms.

So this is a call. Curryholics of the world, raise your sauce-stained fingernails to the sky and join me. Lift your pint of Kingfisher high and crack your poppadoms with glee. We're curry-eaters and we're here to stay (until you kick us out 'cause it's closing time, of course...)

Monday, 1 June 2009

Times Past - How The Baldy Fella Got That Bump On His Nose

It occurred to me the other day that there are dim recesses of my past that have yet to get a humiliating public airing on this blog-style forum. Having posted something the other day about my years as a seller of children's shoes (that's not some sort of hideous euphemism, I really was a shoe salesman), it made me think that maybe I should unearth some more of these hidden gems (or nuggets of shite, depending on your point of view) which may well give you something more of an insight into the past of your humble Baldy narrator. Today's choice? The time I was hospitalised with alcohol poisoning.

Let us weave our way back, friends to a time in the past that was commonly referred to as "the mid-nineties". The year is 1995. Cast your minds back, gentle reader, to a bygone age when a new animated film called Toy Story was blazing a trail up the film charts with its revolutionary computer animation, a time when a fresh-faced new sitcom called Father Ted was beginning to its mark felt and that seminal track, Boom Boom Boom by the Outhere Brothers, was holding a steady position in the middle ground of the Top Ten. It was a transitional time for yours truly. School had finished but university was still a ways off (having decided to take a gap year in order to experience the working world and build up a bit of cash*). Hair was still very much in abundance atop the Fella's bonce what with the Great Shedding still being a few years away and centrally parted it was (see "you're just taking the piss now, aren't you?" in this post).

The job of shoe fitter was firmly underway (secured thanks to my mate Jacqui) and the standard rituals of working life were becoming commonplace i.e. we all liked going out after work and getting absolutely rat-arsed. Being a feckless youth of a mere eighteen years of age and already quite the boozehound, I had no real sense of the word moderation. So we decamped to the pub nearest to the staff entrance of Selfridges (the Henry Holland, usually to be found full of Selfridges workers) and I proceeded to tuck away something in the region of six pints of rather strong lager in a two hour period. Bad enough you may be thinking, but it didn't end there...

We moved on to a nearby bar and this is where my memory of events ceases. The rest was pieced together in the days following the event. In the bar, shots were the order of the day. A variety of tequilas punctuated by straight shots of Jack Daniels led to me dancing on the tables**. What a shame there was no music playing in the bar. I was in a bad way by this point but still moving under my own steam which was at least a potentially promising sign.

The night was over and we weaved our way to Bond Street station (I was by far the weaviest). All was fine until I reached the ticket barrier, took out my ticket and passed out face down. Fortunately for me, my fall was broken by my nose (which fractured at this point). As luck would have it, an off-duty passing paramedic came over (no, seriously, this is really what happened) and decided to call for an ambulance. There was some talk of having my stomach pumped but fortunately I manged to empty it all over myself in the ambulance.

As is traditional in these circumstances, the parents were summoned. Once they arrived, their worry and fears dissipated at the sight of their apocalyptically drunk son insisting it was "Manuary nineteen seventy...seventy...seventy...." and laughing idiotically while being given a tetanus injection in the arse (I didn't especially need one at that particular moment in time but the nurses needed some small measure of revenge for being forced to look after a pissed-up moron).

The next morning, I awoke to discover that my nose was around three times as wide as it had originally been, necessitating the bending of the glasses to actually fit them on (and to cause the least amount of pain while wearing them) and also that I was unable to move my neck. A brief return trip to the hospital saw me return with a newly-fitted neck-brace to counter the whiplash I'd suffered when I hit the deck the night before. Needless to say, this incident took some living down both personally and professionally (the hilarious cries of "What's that up there?" and "Oh look, down there" were consistently amusing).

So have I learned from this lesson? Have I become a more moderate or even abstinent drinker to show that I've learnt and grown from this experience? Have I bollocks. Anyone fancy a pint?

* A technique which I thoroughly recommend as it made me appreciate the wild excesses of university life that much more, as opposed to those of my friends who went straight from one academic environment to the next. I'd had a brief taste of the outside world and I wanted the partying uni life to last as long as it possibly could....

** This was back in the days before I realised that any kind of whiskey/bourbon made me unaccountably violent and I swore off them forever.