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But just where do you draw the line, precisely?

Coverage of the possible serial killings in Suffolk has afforded me a certain grim amusement over the last couple of days. The manner in which it's been reported is akin to a breathless schoolgirl informing her mum that Johnny's asked her to the formal. "But Mum, he's murdering hookers!"

Seriously, it's just so fucking overexcitable. From the slew of maps and graphics to the tediously ineivitable tagging of the killer(s) as the "Ipswich Ripper" (which seems wildly innapropriate given that the only method of death of which we've so far been informed has been asphyxiation). The tabloids (and, sadly, the Independent) have collectively wanked thremselves into a frenzy over a story which I cannot help but point out is, at it's very essence, the story of five dead women. Retreat to first principles. Killing. People. Is. Wrong.

Except they're not being defined as people, are they? the victims are being defined as prostitutes, as ludicrous a displ…

Injoke

The chap in charge of the web services for Merchant Taylor's boys school is a gigantic monkey faced buffoon. I mean really. He's about eight feet tall, has a face like a monkey and is an absolute, copper-bottomed buffoon.

In less clicquey news this evening I heard someone say, entirely straight faced "all I have is my pride. And my guitars" nearly fell off me stool for laughing.

The Lynx effect

I never thought it would happen, I never in my most fevered imaginings dreamed it COULD happen. But happen it has. An advert has come along featuring a character more revolting, more nauseating, more dreams of extreme violence creating than that kid in the Frosties ad whon chirped relentlessly on about how they were gonna taste great. You know the one, that whitebread grinning fucking robot who reminded you of nothing so much as the evil football hero at primary school who made it his personal mission to make your life hell. He's number two now.

That Lynx ad. The FHM wet dream of an impressive number of glossy, bikini clad godesses scrambling to be the first to reach that goon on the beach. Yes. Him.

Leaving aside the terrifying intellectual poverty of the premise itself there's just something about his gormlessly lustful expression which causes every muscle in my body to tense, except those engaged in moving my head and eyes as I instinctively look round for something to hit h…

Warm glowz

There's nothing quite like the smug feeling you get after completing some strenuous physical exercise, the sure knowledge that you've done yourself a power of good, the even better knowledge that you won't have to do it again today, the brilliant realisation that you can go for a guilt-free pint. There's nothing to top it.

Unless you happen to have also finished all your christmas shopping on the same day for that double-smug goodness, that is.

Aw yeah.

My quiet backwater of the net

CAVEAT EMPTOR: Coastalblog would like to point out that he's about to discuss something of which his knowledge is scanty, but that's largely the point.

As I age the one thing which is a source of constant surprise to me is the Internet. Not in and of itself, I've been a fan and avid consumer of its manifold treasures for many a long year now. But I'm struggling to adjust to its pervasiveness now. I'm part of the last generation who can remember a pre-internet age. A childhood without messenger, christmases having to write multiple thankyou letters rather than one standard thank-you email.

I was, at the time, reasonably ahead of the game in understanding the net, its potential and its usefulness. But now I have to hold my hand up and admit that I am woefully off the pace. I feel like I felt several years ago when I realised that I didn't care as much about music as I used to, that I wasn't keeping remotely up to date with anything remotely resembling the bleed…

Kingmaker? What the fuck?

Now, I am the first to admit that I am possibly not the snappiest dresser. I'm fond of a good suit, and partial to a well-tailored shirt. But most of the time you'll find me in jeans and a scabby indie band tour t-shirt circa the early nineties. Frankly it's a miracle that any woman's looked at me twice. The fact that one saw fit to marry me is right up there with loaves and fishes (Breaded haddock, incidentally. Has to be).

In amongst my selection of scabby indie band tour t-shirts of the early nineties is a Kingmaker t-shirt. The Eat Yourself Whole tour, to be precise. Not that it matters because not a huge amount of people gave a monkeys at the time, which was fourteen years ago. So it follows tghat even fewer people would give said monkeys now.

Apart from those Shadowy figures behind the new Will Ferrell vehicle something or other. I've no idea what the film's called, I'm aware that the plot is some Kaufman-lite MacGuffin about an author writing somebody …

Small cringe

So much to mention recently, but circumstances have kept me away from the computer, have in fact kept me from doing anything other than working like a madman (apart from a brief pastoral interlude about which I must of necessity stay sctum except for this: never order drinks in the South). So much, I should offer my heartfelt and delirious congratualtions to people who know who and why they are offered. So, so pleased. I should dissect the letters page of this weeks Champion (the highlight of which is a cry of outrage against overweight NHS staff, featuring the immortal line "it's disgusting that so many of these porkers are allowed to work in our hospitals" - bravo!). I could expound upon my new theory that the Police are simply coming up with new initiatives to deliberately take the piss out of the Mail ("Free heroin for addicts!" "It's OK to fuck fourteen year old girls!" "Asylum seekers given licence to kill and a free twee cottage in dar…

House-hunting

Not a sport for the faint-hearted. I well recall watching friends being put through the wringer of trying to find themselves a home (it all worked out fine in the end so breathe easy). The Mrs and I, in our quest to help feed the slavering beast that is the market by buying our own slice of Merrie England have been subjected to all manner of what I believe is termed crazy crap. Laughably optimistic prices, terrifying decor, collapsing stairs, weird and creepy owners who followed us around, we've dealt with all of it with sang-froid and a liberal dash of the old stiff-upper.

The good part is, we've possibly found one. Watch this space.

Rampant children will kill us all

Apparently. Knickers being got massively in a twist all over the shop today by the news that Britain's teens and kids are "The worst in Europe." I'm sure you've seen the story so I shan't bother to link it, my laziness is of course due to a breakdown in society and my poor upbringing.

Nothing like a good moral panic to bring the idiots out of the woodwork, my favorite concomitant story has to be Asbos are a badge of honour. The amusing impication being that since asbos appeared on thehorizon things have somehow got worse. I can't help but note that there's no testimony from those kids who, having been asbo'd are having their freedom somewhat curtailed "it's a badge of honour, but a pain in the arse" style of thing (incidentally, check the video link in the corner "British youths caught misbehaving" Oh no! Youths! And they're misbehaving! I'm reminded of the old Bill Hicks skit about the word hooligan not sounding par…

Trick or treat retreat

So I'm writing this in the spare bedroom at the very top of the house. At the back of the house. In the portion of the house where to the casual street level observer it would seem that there was nobody in. So it's Hallowe'en again.

Before I go any further I need to clarify my position on Hallowe'en. I don't care one way or the other about it. Sure it's a vast, crass commercial enterprise. But what isn't? It's not like it's as much of a con-job as Christmas. If people want to dress up as ghouls then that's fine by me. Knock yourselves out, or poke your eye out with the end of your silly plastic trident that you paid ACTUAL MONEY for for some reason.

I have nothing to do with hallowe'en because I am neither a) a small child that's jonesing for sherbert or b) a student girl who ill-advisedly think that she looks hot in red satin. Likewise I've never had anything to do with trick or treating. I grew up in the wilds of rural Cornwall wher…

Snowed under. Back shortly

Argh stuff to do, college stuff to do, writing stuff to do, house-hunting stuff to do, stuff too secret to tell the internet about to do argh argh argh.

I recognise that this isn't the most salient of posts, but I do beg your indulgence, I have every intention of getting something interesting up shortly.

29

Today. Sigh.

Still my students wrote brilliantly this morning, little knowing that that was one of the better presents I could have received, so thanks to them.

On an entirely unrelated note a cash machine just helpfully informed me that it is currently National Identity Fraud Week; so I'm just off out to commit some forthwith, just to keep in the spirit of things.

Old News

Yes, yes you all know about Sion Simon's somewhat heavy-handed but nevertheless entertaining spoof of Teflon Dave's Webcameron. I'll admit to being amused by it. Sleep with my wife, take my kids. We get it Sion, but thanks.

Faintly amusing though it may be, it's nowhere near as amusing as Westminster getting itself into a tizz because of it. The Tories have surprisingly played a blinder, largely declaring themselves relaxed, score one to Dave, annoyingly (mind you, with their press attack dogs to do it for them they don't really need to get too riled). But Labour have, in a rather old fashioned and quaint manner sought to distance themselves from it. Which is idiotic, given that Simon has actually landed a punch on Cameron, which the rest of the party seem curiously unwilling to do (the confused wonderings as to why they aren't going after the vapid berk will have to wait. Seriously though, John Smith would have eaten this twat for breakfast, I suspect Brown mig…

For fuck's sake

I've rarely felt so ashamed to be British as I did yesterday.

So Uncle Jack Straw makes a bid to be seen as tough on something or other in order to be viewed as the hardest man in Westminster, fair enough. He has a problem with the wearing of veils amongst women, that, again, is fair enough. For what it's worth he probably has a valid point to make. His statement was not, in and of itself, racist (misguided, ill thought-out and breathtakingly cynical yes, racist, no).

However, the shitstorm of out and out, mouth-foaming, ACTUAL racism provoked by it is one of the least edifying spectacles I've seen for a long time. Admittedly using the section of the public that contact radio phone-ins isn't the most reliable of guides, but the overwhelming public support for his remarks, and the lack of any backlash was genuinely surprising, not least because somewhere en route the comments turned from "it's an issue of being able to see people's faces" to "muslim…

I do like to be beside the seaside

It's Tory Party Conference time again, politics fans!

HIM AGAIN: good to see David Lee Cameron taking the massive contribution of short haul flights to climate change so seriously that he's put none other than notorious eighties hardman John Selwyn Gummer, Sellafield and diseased beef boy himself, on the case (who he? readers under twenty and americans cry. Google, my children. Then giggle). His squeaking of the facts was heartening to hear, and to be entirely fair he was largely correct. But undermined somewhat by the bellowing of a bellicose Tory at the debate on the subject woefully missing the point by claiming that as his journey to the conference was by plane (amusingly he shoehorned a reference to Ryanair in there too, never a Tory party conference without some pals product placement) it was shorter and therefore less polluting. Sigh. Lets go over this one more time shall we? STOP TRAVELLING BY PLANE OR WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

GREEN DAVE REDUX: poor Gummer was also fi…

Political engagement

Overheard en route to the pub last weekend:

MAN 1: Nah Mate, it was mad in Manchester today, mad man. Took me ages.
MAN 2: What, Mad busy?
MAN 1: Yeah, it' that Blair bloke innit, they're all there for him, police and that.
MAN 3: (helpfully) He's leaving, isn't he? S'what I heard.
MAN 1: (authoritatively) Yeah, it's gonna be that other bloke. Gordon.
MAN 2: But what were they doing in Manchester?
MAN 1: (cementing his reputation as the foremost political thinker of the group) Well it's obvious, isn't it? All his votes come from Manchester.
MAN 3: (doubtfully) What, all of them?
MAN 1: Well, most of them.

At this point I realised I'd overshot the pub by a good hundred yards and turned back, secure in the knowledge that the democratic process will roll on and on with little to no input from the public at large. Which is probably just as well given the latest subject exercising the razor sharp minds who contribute to the Advertiser's letters page. "Spy…

Miscellaneous, again

Richard Hammond I am not about to join the predictable chorus of bah Top Gear presenter, cuh, deserves it, what are you gonna do. I wish him no harm, I hope he gets well soon. I will, however, note that when a friend of mine died in a car crash it wasn't all over the bloody news.

Tom Lehmann By now you are all of course aware that the US team arrived late for the Ryder cup because they had to buy Tortilla chips because you can't buy good enough ones in Ireland, or good enough salsa (which is surely not too difficult to, y'know, make) ho ho. But one thing which needs pointing up is Lehmann's reasoning as to why these were so essential. "I" he said "am from Nevada, the home of Mexican food". Which surprised Coastalblog, as I'd foolishly presumed that the home of Mexican food was Mexico. Was my face ever red.

Fun with Razorlight Two Razorlight games for you to play. The first is a drinking game. Charge your glass and then stick on a Razorlight song. …

The democratic power of coastalblog

Hailing as I do from Boscastle (Britain's muddiest village TM) all things Cornish are matters close to the heart of Coastalblog. Namely the county's marginalisation, poverty and the rest of the country's complete ignorance of same (I've lost count of the amount of times people have wonderingly asked me what I'm doing here upcountry and I've had to patiently explain the systematic destruction of all of cornwall's primary industries, the galloping inflation of its houseprices due to half of them being bought as second homes by fucking stockbrokers and the concomitant grievous damage to Cornwall's economy. And the fact that the unemployment level is the highest in the country). So here's my chance to give something back by asking my paltry handful of readers (ah, but it's the quality that counts) to vote for the Cornish Prayer Book Rebellion, Cornwall's last gasp grab to retain some cultural independence in the Guardian's Radical Restoratio…

Keeping in line

Day off today, and the various aches and pains expanding across my body after a full weekends service germanely aske me why it is I do what I do. There are, as I know, easier ways to make a living than daily subjecting oneself to what Anthony Bourdain correctly describes as the "full mind / body press" of life in a professional kitchen.

Yes, I'm back doing that again, did I not mention? Oh, I did. It's hard to keep track.

There's a scald mark on the inside of my left forearm where a pheasant breast hit a glowing pan containing just a little too much wine a little bit too hard, forty on the board and I was in a rush; a deep mark across my left thumbnail where I looked up when someone said something whilst I was chiffonading parsley; the blister on my right index finger where I grabbed a glowing pan from under a grill with a towel a little too threadbare a fortnight ago has just healed. All told, I'm doing quite well.

it's hectic in a kitchen, sweat, steam, kn…

Spies are everywhere

Cracking stuff from Ormskirk residents recently. You see, we have this new wheelie bin regime in place in tandem with recycling boxes, as West Lancs district council finally drags its arse into the exciting world of responsible recycling. This in itself caused widespread local outrage as an infringement of our rights to create a frankly terrifying amount of waste. But this was as nothing compared to the shitstorm when it emerged that each bin has (wait for it) a microchip in it.

It's big Brother gone mad! cried the population en masse, ignoring the fact that the chip is in essence an identification device in favour of the much more entertaining idea that these chips are in fact highly sophisticated listening devices. The "OUr bins are bugged" controversy runs on in the letters page of the Advertiser (this morning's being particularly rich - hence the post)in defiance of the fact that a) why the hell would the council want to listen to your bins anyway? b)do you have …

Hats

So I've been watching coverage of the heavily sponsored festival season, and it has thrown up several questions, chief amongst which being what on earth is Lauren Laverne still doing with the rest of the painfully idiotic T4 massive (wage notwithstanding)? But what use are questions without answers, or more pertinently, conclusions? And yes, some conclusions were drawn, none of which are earth shattering in their insight, or in any way imbued with the shock of the new, but what are you gonna do? I'm talking about festival television, it's easy targets all the way, baby.

Paul Weller is a nitwit, but we knew this. The current crop of indie rock bands are entirely indistinguishable, but Kasabian are PARTICULARLY indistinguishable, you know what I mean. Morrissey, annoyingly( not to be anti Stephen, but more surely SOMEONE has come along since him with at least half a wit?), is still a far more engaging interviewee than, well, anybody in this particular sphere, specifically Pa…

From there to here

Forgive me. I've suffered a moment of introspection (I nearly typed "I have" rather than the less demagogic "I've", for some reason). It doesn't happen overly often, as a general rule of thumb I'm a firm believer in the whole pioneer school of thought, y'know, get your head down, get over it, keep going. That whole irritating Boy Scout thing (not that I was ever a fan of Scouts, the moment I discovered that we didn't get to bake and the Guides did I was out of there). I just tend to have found that it doesn't do to dwell.

Put it down to getting married, maybe. It's a seismic change in one's personal condition, the certain knowledge that well, this is it. You stand or fall on your own merits from here on out, fucko, you've made a promise. And it is a promise, not to be lightly fucked about with. But it was a wedding present which caused the moment.

You see, my dad was a professional photographer (my brother still is). Now here i…

Out of the frying pan

The knives are sharpened, the apron and jacket are in the wash, my back hurts and there are fresh calluses on my knife hand.

Yep, back on the stove again. Y'see Coastalblog has a plot which is too secret to even tell the internet about (also, have you ever noticed how when you have a plan, or have decided to do something, it doesn't matter how sure you are that it's all going to work out the second you announce it SOMETHING happens and the entire thing goes down the tubes. So I'm staying sctum), but it's unlikely to occur for a while and in the meantime SHEKELS are required in order to keep Mrs Coastalblog in the diamond encrusted hot water bottles and gold sandwiches to which she has become accustomed.

So it's back to the kitchens for me, and very enjoyable it is too, so far. And given that I am back in the thick of catering, dear reader, it may well be the case that you will be seeing RANTS before too much longer, in which case I can only say, you lucky, LUCKY …

Nice

Damilola Taylor's killers sent down.
Warmongering Joe Liebermann losing his nomination.
Tabloid journalists charged with illegal phone tapping.
Channel 4 staring down the wrong end of a big fine as a result of Big Brother.

All we need now is a security threat grounding a load of planes and making people too scared to fly, saving billions of tonnes of emissions and with concomitant positive effects for the british tourism industry, what with fear being a much better motivational tool for my imbecilic fellow countrymen than something as nebulous as conscience or responsibility, and it's been a pretty good day.

Hang on...

A Bob from the blue

So yesterday afternoon 'd just finished writing a pile of thank-you cards (this I have discovered, is one of the things wives force you to do, prior to being married I wouldn't have been ungrateful for the gifts we received, I just wouldn't have got round to thanking anyone. This I am given to understand, is the decent thing to do) when my phone began to merrily trill.

"Blast you vile box" I cried, for I did not recognise the number, not generally a good sign, it often seems to mean that somebody wants something. I answered with trepidation. Good job too for, as it turned out it was Bob, old uni peer and all round decent human being. I was somewhat shocked, having had no contact at all with him for many a long year. Pleasantly shocked, needless to say, I've always been a big fan of Bob, but it's not the sort of thing one expects to happen on a Friday afternoon. Naturally, we went drinking. Now, my head hurts. This is what I believe is known as cause and ef…

Aaand we're back

So your correspondent is now, officially a married man. Wedding is over, honeymoon is over and I'm back at my desk in the 'skirk gazing at the trees bending alarmingly in the wind outside.

I'd love to tell you all about it, but my memory has sadly been wiped clean by the discovery upon my return that your super soaraway Coastalblog is number ONE on teh google for "gay anthony worrall thompson" I think I can die happy now, except I'd have to run it by the Mrs first, and I can't see her agreeing to it. What was that? Yes dear, coming dear.

STOP PRESS And of course many happy returns of the day to the wondrous Celeste. Forget? Me? Never.

Ha ha haaaaaaa

Don't speak with your mouth full, man. It's not just Bush's odd use of the word irony which amuses here, it's more the way that he's completely dismissive of anything Blair has to say "Yea yeah, I told Condi your offer, whatever". SO proud of our noble leader,the pansy. You get the impression Brown would have given Bush a thick ear if spoken to like that. Hoots.

Yikes

Now, there's nothing quite like teenagers to make a chap feel old. Particularly when said teenagers are one's kid sister. And particularly when one stumbles across their web page. I would upbraid the girl upon her appalling spelling were I not dimly aware that that would move me irrevocably into the category of being "old". Spelling is something old people do. As for the rest of it, well, I didn't look at much, frankly, I don't want to know. Let me retain some illusions.

Now, onto safer territory....so I was reading that observer woman supplement, purely from a spirit of curiosity you understand. The sensation reminded me of being a fervid, febrile teenage boy and (like my fellow teenage boys - don't lie), frantically reading women's magazines for insights, hints, anything that might give us a head start on the competition when it came to the school disco (as opposed to, you know, actually dancing); which of course is exactly the sort of self-deprecati…

Here we go again

So that makes two jobs I've quit on a point of principle in the last ten months. You'd think I'd learn.

Admittedly my cards were marked once my current place of employment was bought by a couple, not too much space behind there for a bar manager then, particularly not one as ridiculously well paid as me.

What little was left of my morale sank into my shoes after the new owner said he was looking forward to "touching base" with me. He also addressed me as "buddy" within thirty seconds of our first meeting.

Now, I want to stress at this point that the couple who've bought the place are very pleasant people, they wanted to keep hold of me, and offered me a (somewhat less well paid) position as the head chef. So far, so thoughtful, really rather sweet of them.

The downside came when I read the menu, out goes all the freshly prepared, home-made (and frankly rather good) grub we've been serving, in come breaded fucking mushrooms, packet sauces, frozen roa…

Gah

For reasons too tedious to go into the pub sale went a bit tits up. So the licensed trade industry's loss is blogging's gain. Or something. Semi-normal service to be resumed just as soon as I get hold of a copy of this week's Advertiser so I've got something to laugh at.

Like falling off a blog

Yes, those updates have been a trifle infrequent of late, haven't they? There is a reason. Fond as I am of blogging I am currently in the middle of the single most hectic period of mu life to date. Not only am I working hard on sorting out my phd proposal but over the next six weeks I'm going to be (deep breath) setting up a business, buying a pub, moving house, getting married.

So you'll just have to bear with me for a bit, I'm afraid.

The joy and pain of getting older

So as I was navigating my way across the BBC radio player I chanced upon an advert for radio 1's ""Bare all this summer" safe sex campaign. Bloody hell, I thought. Never had anything like that when I were a lad. I almost started harrumphing before it occurred to me that well, yes, when I was their target audience I was up to all sorts also. And then it hit me, I'm in my late twenties, and as such still relatively youngish (though by radio 1's standards past it), and as such young enough to realise that the problem with young people is that you suspect that they're having more fun than you did, I just hope that I remember this.

Ho hum

Random grab bag of thoughts and what have you from the last week or so.

Anthony Worrall Thompson. Anthony Worrall Thompson. Anthony. Worrall. Thompson. I'm writing his name three times in order to fix his horrible orc-like face in my memory, and what has the troll-featured cuntbubble done to attracts my ire? Why, suggesting that the minimum wage by abolished. And why should the minimum wage, that succour to nameless millions balancing precariously above the poverty line, be abolished? Because it would make waiting on staff work harder for tips. Anthony Worrall Thompson. Drink it in. Anthony. Worrall. Thompson (this, incidentally, is the same man who suggests turning up to a fully booked restaurant and insisting that you booked, because they'll have to let you in, he is a pox on humanity, a boil on the face of sweet mother earth, an enormous worm ridden shit in your chardonnay, to paraphrase the tone-deaf man's Tasmin Archer, Alanis Morrissette).

Ormskirk's getting more d…

Oh dear

So say you were a local journalist writing a story about a schism in the committee at the local cricket club, and say you were looking for a simple, easily recognisable phrase which the vast majority of the population would understand as meaning "a lack of fair play" which, handily, includes the word cricket. Would you, as the Advertiser's boards outside Somerfield proudly do, proclaim said shenanigans to be "not just cricket"? Well would you?

In further news from our "Oh for the love of Benji" desk german cyclist Hans Stucke has been pedalling his old sit up and beg bike around the world since 1962. He is officially the world's most travelled man, and, by extension it seems likely that this is the world's most travelled bike. His constant faithful companion on his travels across the globe, across every continent, across deserts, tundra, through war zones without mishap.

Until he got a ferry to Portsmouth, and it was nicked by the local scallies…

Karaoke Kicking

Further intrepid investigation was, as promised, undergone. It turns out that Ormskirk's crime of the week was a beating inflicted upon a pub singer by a bloke who objected to his singing, heckled him repeatedly and then, when the singer objected to said heckling, dragged him outside and beat the tar out of him.

Now, I am temperamentally in favour of criticism being vigorous when necessary, but this is perhaps taking matters too far; the fact that the tune in question was Mr B White's "My First, My Last, My Everything" as inflicted upon your correspondent by countless godawful cabaret artists and sung along to by horrible women who've had too much wine over the years, however, is a mitigating circumstance, and I retain an open mind.

The scene of this debate, it will come as no surprise to the Stalybridge contingent to learn, was none other than The Plough, where one clearly can't get the clientele these days.

In football news, disappointing to see the Fort retu…

Hang out the flags

The date, first of May, 2006. The Place, Claggan Park, nestling at the foot of mighty ben Nevis. The Scoreline...

Fort William FC 3 Cove Rangers 2.

Some bloke who lives in Cove Bay, can you hear me? Some other bloke who lives in Cove Bay, can you hear me? The fishing community that sailed from Cover Harbour in the 1830s supporting around 20 families. Most of them living in the planned hamlet of Cove at the head of the track from the harbour can you hear me? Your boys took a hell of a beating! And not just any old victory this, for Cove lie a dizzying eighth in the league. The scoreline takes The Fort to within nine points of second bottom Brora, and reduces the goal difference to a trifling -80. Total goals conceded 99, which, with a scant handful of games to go leaves this correspondents bet of under 115 shipped total looking distinctly likelier than Jimmy's wildly pessimistic 120+. Jimmy Parker can you hear me?

In other news this week's super soaraway Ormskirk Champion has spl…

Coastalhitched (shortly)

I do not as a matter of course tend to include matters of a personal nature on here when they involve others, not only is it unfair to said others but it detracts from vital updates on the progress of the Ormskirk model boating lake, the progress of Fort William FC and the like (which will be resumed shortly). Nevertheless, this is fairly important.

Coastalblog will shortly be making an honest woman of Mrs Coastalblog. Crikey.

That is all.

Things I have learned this week

The world's most expensive sandwich is not that overblown monstrosity on sale at Selfridges but is in fact the creation of none other than our very own super soaraway Ormskirk Advertiser's celeb chef Tom Bridge who sniffily points out that his cost £885 (as opposed to the mere £85 that London povvos are prepared to shell out, the measly bastards). It seems to feature an awful lot of caviar, and only a churl would point out that it sounds absolutely revolting (champagne mayonnaise?). Also I refuse to take anyone who lists one of his ingredients as "Exotic Salad" seriously. I furthermore suspect that the price may be inflated slightly by the final instruction to "garnish with a glass of champagne".

We import £3,500 worth of chocolate covered waffles from Ireland each year! We export £3,500 worth of chocolate covered waffles to Ireland each year! I think I see a way out of this! (Thanks, The Guardian).

It is possible to use the word "and" five times …

Hello

You may remember me. Once upon a time I used to post here fairly regularly. Then came a perod when, well, I just never found myself on the computer at all, what with one thing and another.

There's no particular reason for the hiatus, apart from the standard obligations of stuff and things. I've read a bunch of books, done a bunch of marking and got royally trashed at the GMEX, and yet not been near a computer the entire time for some reason.

And now I am near a computer, and likely to be so fairly regularly. Still, it was nice out there in the sunshine and showers whilst it lasted.

Nothing else to report really, the frenzied debate over a model boating lake for Ormskirk continues to rise to an increasingly feverish pitch, and Coastalblog is gearing up for an extended letter writing campaign to the Champion on behalf of those of us who frankly couldn't give a monkeys (the draft I have saved refers to the Champion's "Rabidly pro-lake stance"). Which should be fun.…

Ow Ow Ow, mmm

In the not too distant past there was an advertising campaign for a brand of yoghurt. the conceit of this campaign was that the yoghurt was tasty, but good for you, thus having pleasure without the pain. The joke being that some other sucker was getting the pain. Hail of nails, rabid dogs etc. They referred to this gag as the "pleasure/pain principle", of which I, yesterday, was a one man example. My final student loan repayment has been made this month, so I had only my outstanding credit card bill to go before being effectively debt free. In a spirit of clearing the decks, bracing fiscal prudence and what have, I decided to get rid of it in one hit.

It was not a small cheque that I wrote, and the creamy yoghurty joy of being WITHOUT DEBT FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1996 (mmmm) was counterbalanced somehwta by the sharp stinging pain in my wallet (ow ow ow)

Elsewhere, a bumper crop of entertainment in ths week's super soaraway Ormskirk Champion (which, rather sweetly, is boa…

Hard at it

As is often the way when you're on a creative roll the static becomes defeaning. Where, only a few scant weeks ago you were screaming for the next idea to come from anywhere, it didn't even have to be a particularly good idea, just something to work with.

Pah, those arid days seem long ago, just as the complacent slimmer looks at a photograph of his earlier fat self (most likely clad in a bright shirt and wearing the sort of smile that only fat holidaying goons can muster) and tuts indulgently so I regard my inspiration-free alter ego of not so long ago with a particularly smug and annoying brand of pity.

But where was I? oh yes, static. There are now that many ideas churning around that I am forced to regard some with suspicion and the old stern eye. I must learn not to get wildly excited when yet another thought pops into my rapidly overheating head, I must learn to fix it with a clear and steady gaze and inquire whether it is a bona fide idea or an imposter, likely to turn in…

Huh?

Today is March the twelfth. There is a blizzard outside. Snow is piling up in drifts.
Today is March the twelfth. This doesn't make any sense. Surely these are the End Times.

Today is a glorious day

Because today, for the first time ever, I completed the Guardian crossword (cryptic, that is, I'm not that easily pleased).

It may seem like small beer to some but hey, I'm just learning.

Other reasons today has been a good day include:

more concrete ideas forming for phd

chicken in yoghurt and mustard sauce with PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI for dinner

discovering that the last Fort William home game was graced by none other than celebrity alcoholic CHARLES KENNEDY, his presence galvanising the lads to a rousing 3-1 defeat. Come on the Fort!

All in all, not bad.

Good student, bad student

I'm rather taking to this teaching malarkey. I have (as of this morning) just finished my first pile of marking. Now, at first this was a strange experience. Despite having been offered the job, despite all the assurances that I was competent enough for it I found the experience of being the man sitting in judgement on a pile of other people's work somewhat daunting, what with the obvious questions of who am I to judge them etc leaping merrily to the fore. This sensation lasted approximately ten minutes.

You see, whilst I was very proud of my students creative efforts, indeed there was some breathtakingly impressive creative work the supplementary discourses (self-assessment, annotated bibliogaphy) were, with a couple of honourable exceptions, woeful.

I'm making no great claims for myself here, but I am at the very least capable of constructing a reasonably cogent sentence. Repeatedly I was forced to ask myself the question, how the hell did you make it through to third year…

Coastalblog's occasional guide to the catering industry

Value x in an indeterminate sequence of y

It's time to name and shame, people. It's time for me to use this forum to point fingers at the tight-arsed, pocket-patting bill-splitters of this world. You know the ones. The mean-featured "well I only had soup" utterers of this world who sneak guilty glances at the door even as they make damn sure that they're topping their glass up from the communal wine. And I'm arranging it by profession.

Yes! It's Coastalblog's Top five worst tipping professions:

NUMBER FIVE: The Banking industry. Yes, being around all that money all morning means clearly that when it comes to lunchtime they don't want to be seeing any more of the stuff than strictly necessary. Better yet, why not pay on the company card and look apologetically at the gap left for gratuities? We understand, it's okay, we're only on, like, a quarter of your wage.

NUMBER FOUR: People on expense accounts. Oh my my my. What particularly galls me abo…

Another foolish list

Ten things

1) Long poem sequences (for list of rules see
2) my new blog)
3) Off to Liverpool Saturday for Jim's birthday, beer and SUSHI = what's not to like?
4) Elastica's version of Trio's Da Da Da
5) Amiri Baraka
6) Two hundred pounds worth of tax rebate OH YES
7) It's nearly spring so therefore justifying
8) Guilt-free crushes
9) Avocado salsa with lemon and chilli
10) Really fucking big cigars

POSSIBLY ALL AT THE SAME TIME

And now we are complete

Who needs kids? Coastalblog would like to take this opportunity to salute the latest(temporary) addition to our household; brought home for the hols by Roe, Herbert the Hamster, a diminutive creature who spends all day asleep. Naturally indigent occasional lodger, Treacle the Cat, is intrigued, but is not currently being allowe in, leading to plenty of hurt posturing on windowsills.

In non Hamster related news Jim is back in the hunt for the great Fort William goals conceded spread, as despite a gallant battle Fort succumbed to Fraserburgh yesterday by the mere matter of seven goals to two. Poor show. I myself am considering withdrawing, ooh, about fifty quid, and heading north to "Do an Abramovich"

etc

No fixture for the Fort this weekend, though intrepid digging does yield this frankly sordid tale. My hat would be off were it not that I don't wear hats.

No presence of mine at last week's cut-throat derby in the Albert's quiz, so it would be unseemly to write a report up under the circs, suffice it to say the phrase "garden variety" would have appeared. Normal service to be resumed shortly.

Otherwise? Otherwise it's all pretty good. Lecturing is very much fun, stroppy teenagers aside (my third years are lovely, on account of having had a crucial couple of years growing up behind them, the first years are mostly pleasant enough but...fech, well, I remember what an annoying bastard I was at that age). I'm learning a lot, and learning it fast. Rather exhilerating, actually.

And, to conclude, enjoy Valentine's Day. I shall be celebrating it in the usual manner, by going to work and ignoring it entirely(though I am sorely tempted by the 8p Asda Cards, maybe…

Coastalblog scoops Times, then forgets to mention it.

Now, we are a varied bunch of supporters here at Coastal Towers. I myself am Spurs born and bred, when Liverpool are winning Jim pretends to take an interest (that's not strictly fair, it just seems that whenever they register a loss I can't seem to find him for a couple of days) and Roe remains stoutly, if misguidedly, loyal to Grimsby Town.

However there's one team which captured our hearts earlier this season, and to whom my loyalties, if I only I could, would switch.

Step forward FOrt William FC. Now, the Scottish league is routinely derided here in England. I recall Gretna Green, when they played in the Unibond, getting absolutely twatted by Burscough, a village marginally smaller than my living room. Gretna switched leagues and are currently top of the Scottish division two, Burscough are two whole divisions away from playing league football. So it follows that the Highland league, scottish non-league, is perhaps not of the most forbidding standard. Unless you're F…

Further Breaking Ormskirk News

GUILTY AS HELL: Scenes of delirium in court this week as "cold blooded killer" John Climo was "sent down" for LIFE for the murder of Ormskirk businessman Kenneth Iddon. Gosh. The judge was left in "no doubt" that he'd been paid to do it. Though who actually did that seems largely to be being glossed over at the moment. Regular coastalblog readers won't recall (as I didn't bother mentioning it) that the original trial of his wife and her son collapsed when they entered a plea of "who, us?" and the jury returned a verdict of "fair enough."

TURTLES WIN AGAIN, TEAM JESUS "WORSE THAN TROTSKY": A gallant, battling performance from the perennial All Westhead All the Time League chancers saw them scrape a creditable third in last weeks Winner-takes-some clash at the Albert. Transfer rumours abound after midfield dynamo Lesley "Lesley" Kenny pointed mysteriously at a comfy chair and said "comfy chair, that&#…

Might as well, eh

It appears that I have been tagged with the Four Things meme (it always takes me a while to realise these things). So here we go:

Four jobs I've had:
God, do I have to stop at four? Okay: lecturer, roofer, restaurant manager, maker of garden ornaments

Four movies I can watch over and over:
Network, the Princess Bride, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Dinner Rush

Four places I have lived:
Cheshunt, Herts; Ware, Herts; Boscastle, Cornwall; Ormskirk, Lancashire

Four TV shows I like to watch:
I don't watch a great deal of telly but the Simpsons, Neighbours, University Challenge, Newsnight

Four foods that I like:
Moules a la Portugaise, Apple and Blackberry crumble, confited duck with chorizo and red cabbage, wholemeal bread with strong cheddar and an apple

Four websites I visit daily:
Resonance FM, ILX, BBC News, Cricinfo

Four things I want to do before I die:
Publish a book, invent a time machine, cart Shane Warne for a straight six into the Compton stand at Lords, Victoria Coren

Four places I would …

Breaking Ormskirk News.

BUILD SOME FLATS: What to do? What to do? The cry has reverberated from boardroom to shop floor at the corporate juggernaut that IS West Lancashire District Council. What to do with what, you ask? Why, the creation of a large amount of town centre real estate. Since the bulldozing of the site the questions have flown around like large bats, large bats with cartoon questions marks attached to their heads. Something for the kids, perhaps? The Militant Action Group of the Ormskirk Model Boating Society doubtless favours a large boating lake with 24-hour Duck Sniper on-site. OUr own humble proposal for a sculputre park featuring Ormskirk's more Goombah works of public Art (The Sword in the Anvil, anyone? EIGHT FUCKING METRES TALL BRONZE GLOWING SEED-PODS anyone?) has fallen on deaf ears. The Question has been put to the public and the public have responded bafflingly by being largely in favour of a development of luxury flats. Rumours that this bizarre decision on the part of the publ…

Ah, Fred

To good a quote to let slide by..(half-inched from Cricinfo)

"I must admit that when I put my arm around him the exact words I used were 'It's 1-1 you Aussie bastard'."
As if ... Andrew Flintoff jokes about what he really said to Brett Lee at the end of the Edgbaston Test.

Tutor: Matt Fallaize

If you had told me six months ago that I was going to spend a significant proportion of last Monday teaching the finer points of haiku writing to a bunch of undergrads I would have looked you sternly in the eye and demanded that you stop hogging the drugs,you selfish bastard.

The first intimations that this was actually going to happen, and wasn't just something I'd thought might be entertaining in an idle moment came when I stood in the english corridor, looking at the information board as I'd failed to do so many times as an undergrad myself, and there it was. A list of names and at the top, Tutor: Matt Fallaize. Blimey, I thought, this looks like actually being the case then, doesn't it? Hmm. Best hit the books.

Not only did I do it, I actually enjoyed it. Now, I don't want to go jumping in two-footed here but I could rather get used to this, it beats getting whined at by middle-aged women in far-too-revealing frocks for a living. I'm writing this now after a …

In praise of my christmas present.

Because I haven't given it enough praise as yet.

When the delightful Mrs Coastaltown bought a great big meat grinder for christmas I was, indeed, delighted, but divined an ulterior moptive on her part. Mrs C doesn't eat red meat, and a big culinary sticking point in our house has been my point blank refusal to use chicken or turkey mince in anything (on the thoroughly reasonable grounds that as far as I'm concerned it's not actually food). However, with this grinder I could get prime chicken breasts and make ethically okay mince with them, yes?

Well, I suppose so, and in fact I have done so, for some frankly awesome chicken crocquettes I whacked up on New Year's day. But this still doesn't get to the heart of our disagreement, the fact that I won't make any tomatoey pasta sauces or chilli with the aforementioned white meats on account of it's JUST PLAIN WRONG.

The solution? oh my dear sweet Lord. Chilli con Carne. Made with Duck. Using my sharpest, smalle…

Crikey, is that the time?

So I shall shortly be starting work at my alma mater, attempting to inculcate some notion of poetry writing into a group of people who (using myself at that age as an example) will think that either a) I don't know what I'm doing, and that they could do much better themselves on account of being eighteen and therefore knowing everything or b) have zero desire to be there and will repond with mulish silence to everything I try and teach them. So shortly, in fact, that's it's NEXT FUCKING MONDAY.

Nervous? You betcha. Logically I know it will all work out fine, I know my stuff, I've prepared as much as is humanly possible. But since when did logic have anything to do with nerves? I'm excited, obviously, it's the first time I've done this (guest spots before were in the guise of "visiting writer" i.e. not structured, I didn't have to do any marking and they didn't expect RESULTS), yet another career change (if you can call a short-term, on…

Bright lights, big city

Off to Liverpool book shopping today. Not my least favourite way to pass the time. Alas Pere (meaning well) had bought Waterstone's vouchers, so I had lowish expectations. Imagine, then, my surprise and delight at discovering a copy of Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet

Or don't, it's entirely up to you. Anyway, a turn up for the books. Picked up the sainted Elizabeth David's Provincial French Cooking also, so expect plenty of exceedingly French cookery (i.e. OFFAL and CARCASSES) round at Coastal Towers before too much longer huzzah.

All of this is, however, distracting me from the work in hand, which is to get ready for being a teacher (of sorts) within a couple of weeks. The course itself looks relatively straightforward (just as well, really), and I'm beavering away on some systematic stuff for a part where I need to get my arse in to gear and provide some material. Poor kids won't know what hit them.