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Inappropriate responses

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is, of course one of those oh, bugger, moments when you can see all manner of shit hitting a cornucopia of fans.

All politicking aside, it behooves us to recall that someone has been murdered. Any response other than feeling appalled is inappropriate in the extreme.

So a silver medal of twatdom for Miliband's shrugging "well, she knew the risks", but the gold, as ever, to Dubya for jumping merrily onto the freedom bandwagon and wittering on about her "bravely giving her life" possibly in pursuit of some ersatz notion of "freedom"

She didn't bravely give her life. She was murdered. Please to remember this simple dictum: killing people is wrong.

To cheer us all up, then, a quick visit to longtime perpetual mockarena Have Your Say, and thanks to the marvellous Speak your Branes for flagging it up, a response to teddygate (remember that?) from some random gorm deploring those crazy muslims: "Thank God we live in a …

Ho ho ho

Look, I'm not going into it. The paint, the constant sore throat, the hammers and walls and tiles oh my.

But we managed to open.

So your humble correspondent has been an upstanding pillar of the community, one of Bonaparte's famed nation of shopkeepers for a whole three weeks though, most of which has been spent in a state of blind panic staring at the door and willing it to open. Things seem to be taking a turn for the cautiously optimistic though, and I have been knocking out some seriously decent grub and yes, it is a relief to be my own boss and yes, it is a relief to get to cook with decent ingredients rather than worry about some distant owners unit cost percentage, indeed it's a relief to never hear the words unit cost percentage. It's nice to work my way slowly though the beer list (should you ever come across anything by the Marble brewery of Manchester, buy it, better yet, come to Ormskirk and buy it from me). It's nice to actually HAVE to taste a variety o…

No posts, no time

Shop-fitting continues apace, and I spend my days coated in a faint sheen of plasterboard. There's been all sorts of posts I wanted to write but, frankly, I barely have the energy to play facebook scrabble. I get home with enough time to shower and then head out for an evening shift in the kitchen.

All worth it in the long run then, but you don't want to read a lengthy missive about how knackered and filthy I am, I just thought it's be polite to show my face. And if anyone fancies coming down and helping build some shelves/ do some tiling/ paint a shopfront you're more than welcome.

Bwahahahaha

The ominous disappearance of the shopfitter guy boded correctly. Despite telling us that he's go in the day we signed the lease he NOW says he can't go in for four (count 'em) weeks. Now this is bad news for a variety of reasons. We didn't want to be opening this late in the year as it was, but consoled ourselves that we'd at least have a little bit of bedding in time before Christmas. It's still doable, but only if we ourselves go in and do as much as we can before the professionals move in. Which is what we'll do.

So, will Source be open in time for Christmas? Will my wife leave me due to being left with the boy all the time? Will my son recognise me when I get home of a night? Watch this space.

And at last something happens.

Hoo-fucking-ray.

Sixteen months ago a friend and I were playing squash, as the game wore on we were gassing more than playing, and bitching about our jobs. Wouldn't it be nice, we thought, to work for ourselves.

So we went and did something about it. Tomorrow we sign the lease and then, fingers crossed, tge shopfitters can get to work and so, hopefully, with good luck and a following wind, our deli/cafe, Source, will be open by mid November.

I'm putting all these qualifiers in because it's been a long hard trek so far, and I won't believe it's happening until we actually open for business. First up we had an incompetent estate agent (we first looked at our sire over a year ago), then when we finally secured the premises subject to planning persmission the council's planning department got it all entirely arse about face, setting us back another two months. Now, very close to the finishing line, the man in charge of our shopfit has disappeared ominously (well, he&#…

Very good reasons

After some sad news, some good.

Quieter than usual round these parts recently. This is not for lack of things to mention, I fully intended pouring scorn on York council's foie gras ban, telling you breathlessly of my actual encounter with an honest to goodness member of the Ormskirk and West Lancs Model Boating society (The president no less), extolling the soaring success of the mighty Fort, pointing out the amusing irony that the smug fuck who brought that case against An Inconvenient Truth is himself a vested interest, what with his legal costs being backed by a mining company and all. All these things and more.

I have, however been a trifle busy.

The cause of such industry and monomania, is, as a reasonable proportion of you are doubtless already aware, my boy, Ethan, currently two hours shy of beng a whole three days old.

I'm not going to gush. The parents amongst you will know what I'm feeling, the rest of you, presumably,will find out, and the last thing you need is som…

Sad news

it is with a great degree of sadness that I recently got news of the death of poet, academic and all round good egg Bill Griffiths. A long time hero of mine (a link to his website, now broken, has been in the sidebar since day one) it was reading his vital, playful and above all engaging poems which first nudged me off the somewhat formulaic path I'd been treading into the more fruitful areas I've been exploring ever since. I have a lot to thank him for. Every poem I've written since 2000 owes him, in some part, a debt.

I was fortunate enough to meet him, too. One of the rare poets I'd confidently take a non-poet to see read he entertained the Rose theatre richly before, to my delight, terrifying the bejaysus out of my students the next morning at a highly stimulating which I was saddened to note the students in question seemed too hungover / tired / confused by the experiene of a man with love and hate tattooed on his knuckles barking Shelley at them to fully get into.…

Mondays

I was vaguely amused last night by a slew of facebook status updates featuring people moaning about monday being imminent. I couldn't concur, for the last few weeks it's been my only day off. Sometimes not even then (witness intemperate outburst of rage at bank hoidays not so long ago). I'm inclined to like them as a result. Should you work in the catering industry and you're lucky enough to get two days off at the same time they tend to be Sunday/Monday or Wednesday/Thursday (Mon/Tue if your employer is an absolute swine). This is why, as Anthony Bourdain points out, your best bet for going to a restaurant is midweek, the chefs are rested, the horrors of the weekend are at the back of our minds, we're refreshed, we're eager to send you out a nice meal.

Saturday, as I may well have noted elsewhere, is amateur night.

But this is all grossly off topic, the point of this post is to eulogise Monday, the day of rest, when half the chefs in the country have their feet …

Mark Savage is a tit.

That's BBC Entertainment reporter Mark Savage.

Now, this being the intenet and all, you're doubtless well aware of Ms Britney Spears distressing appearance at some telly do or other.

(I'll have to pause here in wonderment that I'm actually writing a blog post [in part] about Britney Spears).

You've all seen it, it was unedifying, the girl was blitzed out of her skull.

Now, whether or not she's brought it on herself I don't care. She's a grown woman, she makes her own decisions. Generally bad ones, it would seem. What I object to is Savage's descrition of her as "out-of-shape." I saw the footage, and thought Ms Spears looked a damn sight healthier (if you can ignore the blank, zombie eyes) than she has for some time. Referring to someone who looks a normal, healthy weight as being "out of shape" is callous, irresponsible and in itself a cause of the celebrity disease of which Ms Spears is so distressingly obvious a symptom.

So, I repe…

I feel for the eurosceptics.

Bill Bailey has this entertaining song written from the perspective of a teenager with excellent parents who "pickme up from school / you attended all my sporting functions", the payoff of course being his rage at the very fact of their good parenting "How can I feel pain / when you're being so supportive?". It is a fact that teenagers are feeble-minded (sorry chaps, but it just goes with the turf, I was too, you won't always be, chin up), and furthermore it is a fact that the feebleminded are only capable of defining themselves in opposition to something.

And this was the first thought that popped into my head this morning to discover that Britain gets to carry on using ounces, pints and miles, as well as retaining the right to rise at 5 a.m to genuflect before a photo of the Queen Muvva gawd love 'er. Sure it will be hailed as a victory for (cough) common sense. Sure the Sun and Mail will doubtless splash pictures of punters enjoying a pint, or buying…

Hash browns: a plea

I've been lounging it up in a hotel in darkest Bucks, celebrating my grandparents frankly astonishing feat of reaching a fiftieth wedding anniversary. All well and good, nice to see family, even nicer to have a weekend away with Mrs Coastaltown. Less nice to pay southern hotel drinks prices (A tenner for two drinks? Thank christ I'm back in the north) but the hotel was paid for us so win some, lose some.

I did, however, get slightly exercised about the breakfast. Now, I am a man who is fond of the british breakfast, one of this sceptered isle's most laudable contributions to world cuisine. Done well, it is a things of joy (remind me to bang on at length about the quality of scran avbailable at Lancaster's estimable Sun Hotel one of these days). On those rare occasions that I have enough time to cook one before dragging my sorry carcass back into work I will endeavour to do so. Sausages, bacon, beans and black pudding are all dear friends of mine, devilled kidneys, roast…

Surely not?

Ormskirk hero and sometime bit part coastalblog subject Jeff, the ever-legendary rollerblading guy comes under fire from the police and council, according to a breathless report in Your super soaraway Ormskirk Champion. Pissibly he and his skates will be parted by Asbo forevermore. Needless to say the consequences of this mean-spirited and bloodless action would be disastrous, both for those inspired by his idiosyncracy and for the sheer entertainment level of yer average ormskirk evening.

For the record, your correspondent has never seen Jeff in anything but complete control of his actions, and there seems to me to be something of the twitching net curtain about:

Ormskirk resident, D4v1d T4yl0r, 51, who recently had a spine operation, said: “He has knocked me over a few times and then just carried on. He is a nuisance and should be banned from the town.”

Exile? Banishment? The language of totalitarianism. I sense a personal grudge, I sense a witchhunt. It's the seed pods all over ag…

Bank holiday blues

We who work under the pitiless aegis of the harsh mistress of the catering industry are, en masse, particularly unhappy today. You see, bank holiday weekends are a particular rubbing-in of the fact that we are not as you are, gentle readers. Normally, monday is a day off for me, to rest up after the painful rigours of a weekend on the stoves, possibly catch up on a little sleep.

It is not a day when I should be dragging my sorry arse into work again, just to cater to you happy, blithe, souls who take these TOTALLY RANDOM BONUS DAYS OFF WHICH WE DON'T GET TO HAVE entirely for granted. And because we don't have these TOTALLY RANDOM BONUS DAYS OFF we've had to turn down the offers of late night pints and mischief which people have been indulging in all weekend, because we know that it's a long week, and we know that being hungover once is fine, twice is cumulative, and far too much like hard work.

And we fun-loving (read: dipsomaniac) Brits celebrate bank holiday weekends …

Rare serious post

As a society it is my contention that we have to a certain extent become divorced from the concept of protest (The march against the iraq war being a noble exception, for all that it accomplished very little). It's just a little outre, a little too earnest, to feel strongly enough about a subject to get off your arse and do something about it.

Unless of course, it's something to do with our fucking cars. Speed cameras, fuel prices, nothing gets the lumpen englishman quite as het up as an impingement on his freedom to do exactly what he likes with his four-wheeled deathbox. It is his "right" to have cheap fuel, his "right" to speed", his "right" to make entirely fucking unnecessary journeys. It is also his "right" to drive a dirty great bypass right through the middle of ancient farmlan just so he has the "right" not to spend another couple of minutes sat at the traffic lights outside Morrisons.

I've been thinking a lot a…

What were you thinking?

The magic of search engines means, of course, that any old conflation of words has a reasonable chance of casting some people into the wilder reaches of the internet, so, continuing an infrequent series (I think I might have done this once before a few years ago, I'm sure that the estimable Forest Pines does it also, so it must be a good idea), recent searches which have brought people to the sunny uplands of Coastalblog:

sixth form honeys
leave aside the blatant imbecility of anyone who actually uses the word "honey" to denote a member of the distaff side, leave aside the somewhat, so, make that exceedingly creepy nature of the search itself, the most entertaining thing about this is that it was an AOL search. Goon.

philippa forrester, 2007, pics
words fail me

"david lee cameron"
Ha! I'm quite pleased that someone thought of this gag, searched for this gag , and got to me. I looked at the post it threw up, and am saddened to note that I don't seem to do too …

Ormskirk, ormskirk, it's a hell of a town

Seems as good a time as any to stick a post up here, given that Ormskirk will have won the Twenty20 world championships for England by the end of this summer?

How, you ask? Why, by rehabilitating none other than legspinning hope Chris Schofield. Good to see that after a fruitful summer on the verdant pastures of Brook Lane he's ready to take the world by storm.

In further Ormskirk news, I note that the super soaraway Champion's restaurant reviewer, the redoubtable Mr X, has yet further covered himself in glory. Regular readers (or those of you who've heard me ranting about this in the pub) may recall that this is the restaurant reviewer who likes EVERYTHING, lacking as he does any semblance of a critical faculty, or, for that matter, a palate (you may also recall his liking of steak well done, and professed dislike of garlic, ffs) both of which are, one imagines, pre-requisites for a half decent stab at the restaurant reviewing game. Unabashed he has continued to astonish …

Domesticity as a political act

So we're homeowners now. We have our feet on the property ladder, we have enetered the great cpaitalost gangbang. Strange unwarranted thoughts have flitted across my mind about buying second ones to let, I have stopped myself, told myself not to be evil, reminded myself how the buy to letters are the scum of the earth who inflated prices to the extent that you are now required to work at least nine days out of every seven, that I will never join their number. That to do so would be to declare myself a non-human, a pile of flesh concerned only with profit, with no finer feelings, no appetites beyond the relentless accumulation of pounds.

Your whole worldview shifts and lurches suddenly, you see, it's an upsetting thing. I pay attention to interest rates. Mrs Coastaltown reads magazines with pictures of expensive furniture in and whimpers occasionally. I fret about the prices of the houses on either side, when next door went on sale at 10K more than we paid for ours did I shake m…

Moderately entertaining

Ormskirk's capacity to entertain me remains undiminished. What's particularly good is that it tends to save its most enlivening moments up for when i'm not feeling quite at my sparkling best. So, a trip to the off-license undertaken with a splitting hangover (hang on a minute, I think I see a way out of this) was cheered immensley by the guy cleaning the fridge who waved a can of cleaning fluid at his coworker and said "I hope this isn't flammable, it's just got in the vents", looked at the can, said "oh, it is" and then carried on.

Better yet was walking back through town yesterday to the sound of a securicor van in distress, an alarm informing all and sundry in mellifluous female tones that "Attention: A Securicor employee requires assistance, call the police", this in itself was novelty enough, and cause to reflect that, given that the people who would in the normal course of events hear the alarm would be the robbers of said van so…

Well then

So this is the internet. It's dustier than I recall.

Good morning / afternoon / evening / elevenses / fuck me it's light (delete as applicable). I would appear to be opening the windows and airing out the hoary old shed that is coastalblog, now that the Coastal Towers remainders have succesfully upped sticks and shifted to the mean streets of Ormskirk's Scott Estate. A place so hardcore that I have to walk five minutes to buy a copy of the guardian, as the local newsies only stocks the Times. It doesn't get any realer. Word.

Doubtless various twee aside on the nature of becoming a responsible home-owner and prospective parent will be spewing forth from the keyboard before too much longer, so none of that for the time being, I thought it best to clear my throat first. Ahem. Hello.

This post courtesy of your local library

I am deeply ashamed of myself.

Not for any nefarious acts recently committed. My conduct of late has been little short of exemplary, I could give any parfait gentil knighte a run for groats in the chivalry stakes. The reason for my shame is in the header.

I was obsessed with libraries as a child, and they played no small part in my almost complete sequestration from my peers, preferring as I did to bury my fizzog in a book. I even went so far as to fundraise for my local one when at school in cornwall (the form of fundraising, a 24 RPG extravaganza, so upset the local methodists that apparently, on the day in question, prayers for my soul were said from Bude to Newquay; a comforting thought to know you've got that much goodwill with the Almighty banked, thugh I suspect I may have spent a great deal of it since). Then I moved away, and found that the university library fulfilled my needs amply. Then I left university and discovered the joy of disposable income, so my bibliomania swit…

Something for everyone.

Mrs Coastaltown has been away for a few days, so I've been pretending that I'm not a grown man with responsibilities but a petulant teenager away from home for the first time who gets to stay up late and drink. Gaaah. I do need her around, she stops me acting like a complete berk.

That said it's been handy from the point of view of getting some writing done. I work best at night, I find, however it is hard to do so when you're feeeing guilty about not already being in bed. Or too tired from being up with the lark an a vain attempt to prove what a solid and worthwhile citizen you are. I also came to the conclusion that it was high time I updated here, and so here I sit and type, despite the fact that I nearly lopped the end of my right index finger off on saturday night whilst making a pear and fennel salad, and my normally fluent keyboard skillz are thus somewhat hampered.

So, by way of addressing most of Coastalblog's personal concerns in a handy digest, it is incum…

Maybe the Telegraph have a point....

As most of you will be aware, when not manning a stove I in part earn my keep by working for a university. As such I am disinclined to chime in with sections of the press who wail that the degree system has become debased, somewhat queering their own pitch by employing tired, facile phrases involving hell, handcarts and visits to dogs. It smacks of biting the hand that feeds, plus my own groups are full of bright, engaged and talented students.

But when, whilst walking home this evening, I was confronted by a group of young men chanting a delightful air concerning their love for Hitler (on account of him "killing the fucking Jews") whilst the young ladies with them decided it would be entertaining to show me their breasts it was difficult not to accept that said section of the press might have a point.

Imbecile of the week.

Have you ever suspected that the general population are a lot thicker than is generally assumed? Come on, you're reading this, clearly you're a cut above the average. Ever thought it? Of course you have. And should you want incontrovertible proof that this is the case, I must point you in the direction of the wondrous hotch-potch of bigotry, non sequiturs and capslock abuse that is the BBC's Have Your Say, wherein you can gawp at your fellow countrymen in all their inglorious pettiness. The budget thread in particular is an hysterical read, chock-full of berserk middle englanders venting their not inconsiderable spleen. I was particularly enamoured of the manchester woman who complains of being "stuffed" by only being 200 quid better off a year. She earns £53 K, incidentally. However the winner (highlighted by Ed in a thread on ILE) simply has to be:

The 4x4 tax has hit me hard. I have a Discovery because I have four young children. What else am I supposed to put …

Deep, deep shame

It was a different world in late 2005. Grime had yet to lose it's cultural cachet to dubstep. I had not yet tired of the joke about the inflatable boy. Emma Bunton was still thought of largely in terms of being an ex-spice girl. Rosie Cammeneti had yet to brighten my lunchtimes by appearing in Neighbours. Truly they were simpler times when coastalblof began championing the fortunes of Fort William FC.

You remember them. The Fort. The pluckiest team in the British Isles. Week in, week out I cheered them on. Generally to heavy defeat, but we were there for the good times too.

I have been neglecting them somewhat this season, what with one thing and another, and thought it high time I brought you an update (due to feeling the deep, deep shame of the title at not having done so before). And how are they doing?

The Fort, I am pleased to announce, having taken until May of last year to register their first win of the season have ALREADY (and we're only two thirds through March) racked …

Before my last hiatus...

I spoke to you of having a busy year, what with the house moving and business setting up (all of which seems to be going as smoothly as could reasonably be expected). Obviously, needing to live in the meantime means I continue to hold a couple of jobs down. Phew, you may think (were you the sort of person who thought in exclamations), what an action-packed year. Didn't you say something about a magazine as well? Why yes, gentle reader, yes I did. I am helping to facilitate the phoenix-like reawakening of Neon Highway, it has existed for a bit as webzine (a format which I personally have a little trouble with, which I may save for another post) but we're bringing it back to good old hardcopy. Which I am rather excited about. Hopefully we'll have the first issue out in October.

Which, incidentally, is when Mrs Coastaltown and I become parents. Did I not mention that?

Like I say, busy year.

Waiting...

Back after a weekend away watching the sister in law get wed, aw.

Survey's back on potential new house, and makes for fairly cheery reading, so that's one less thing to worry about. No immediate problems; but there are a couple of things we'll want to look at a couple of years down the line. Still, it's a relief. Now it's just a matter of them sorting their shifting elsewhere out. In the meantime we wait.

It's the waiting that does me in, as many of you know I'm also supposed to be starting a business up (a cafe/delicatessen), and time is starting to get tight. I've taken out a fairly substantial loan to get it started, and that is just sat in my bank being slowly eroded by the repayments (okay, not all of ot, I have done financially sensible and dull things with some of it). All well and good whilst I'm working two jobs (though I can't help but note that 3dge h1ll HAVEN'T FUCKING PAID ME as yet, something which will be sorted out today, hopef…

Random ephemera

Two things that have amused me over the last couple of days (admittedly I am easily amused): I am often to be found propping up the quiz machine in my local, not through any real expectation of winning any money worthy of the name (after a short period of grace the questions ineivitably become of the guess one obscure date from three variety) but for the joys that are the silly answers to multiple choice questions on Battleships early on. So it was that yesterday I was to be found gurgling my point on being offered the option of answering "Mockney Sellout Co" to the question "which supermarket does Jamie Oliver advertise?" Small joys.

Even smaller joy, and it's distinctly possible that the only other person on earth to be amused by this will be Jimmy, is to be found in the cheap shit DVD section of Morrisons. You know the one, selling five-pack bundles of films you've NEVER HEARD OF (for a GOOD REASON). Fascinated as I am by these films it's the knock…

Coastalblog - almost always a couple of yards off the pace

We all have our personal tipping points. Some crack one day when stood in an otherwise blameless baskets-only queue; the person in front takes too long trying to remember their PIN and bingo, a previously sunny worldview becomes irrevocably bitter. Others may have lived a hitherto positive existence, always looking for the best in people, only to be rendered permanently homicidal by gormless service in a plastic coffee outlet. For vast numbers of my fellow countrymen, the urge to act was engendered by the tedious e-petition about road pricing (probably deserving a post of its own: goverment complicit in human rights abuses? Not my problem squire. Government taking country into illegal war? probably had it coming, didn't they? Goverment creating artificial climate of fear? Well, can't trust anyone these days. Goverment tinkering with something to do with your fucking car? Take to the streets! And pave some new ones whilst we're at it! More cars! Mmmm Cars! etc)

For myself th…

Moving forward

Fingers crossed. After seemingly interminable debate (Liverpool or not? Flat or house? Is it too much? Is it too scabby?) and touring an endless variety of unsuitable places, as well as being annoyingly beaten to the punch on places we DID like (I'm tempted to start a new career as a vigilante beating the shit out of buy-to-let racketeers making life impossible for us humble first time buyers) we may have found somewhere. Finally. It's actually quite nice. I look forward to discovering that it's an ancient Indian burial site.

And, because information about Coastalblog's private life is, frankly, dull:

Not I which I shall be yammering on about to my second year class tomorrow (second film down is the jawdropping Billie Whitelaw peformance)

Smackdown of the week,, the wonderful Ben Goldacre on the awful Gillian McKeith.


And quote of the year, Stephen frears, upon receiving the best film Bafta for The Queen: "I'm the Queen of the world!" In your smug face, Camer…

Ormskirk: tales from the frontline.

We appear to be in the grip of something of a crimewave as currently stands, and none are safe in their beds. Evidence.

The town crier's tricorn hat (which apparently costs eighty quid! Who knew?) was stolen by "youths". Cue advertiser headline "Cruel Gang Steal Don's Hat".

ACTUAL HOME INVASION thwarted by PISSED UP PUB REGULARS who proceeded to enact THE RETRIBUTION OF THE MAN IN THE STREET. Kapow!

Most entertainingly two young men attempted an hilarious breakout from the magistrates court by assaulting an elderly clerk, busting his ribs with a MUG OF TEA and doing one up the ROAD before being caught by a doughty local bobby hurrah. Needless to say they were sixteen. Anyone older than that may have thought to themselves "hmm, oh well, magistrates court, it's not a capital offence" as opposed to "hey! If we break out of here it'll be like that programmme, Prison Break! We might get to sleep with Holly Valance! It's not like the polic…

Probably pointless, but you have to try

The usual circular global warming argument in the pub last night yes it's bad - no-one can make a difference - it's because everyone think like that that we're in such a mess - yeah I know but it's true - I know that but you have to try don't you? etc etc. Eventually we did reach a consensus that it really is encumbent upon us each to do our bit (though of course you all knew that already). So bearing that in mind....

(anyone reading this blog at the actual time should go and plant tree in penance)

Hurrah!

You'd think I'd have learnt by now, wouldn't you. I've had a decade of things looking exceedingly bleak and then turning around rapidly. So it shouldn't come as a shock to me when it occurs. Only last week I was fretting over whether or not I could afford a variety of things, particularly with a large loan sat in my bank account like a big fat frog of potential disastrous debt. I was also swearing a lot at my new phone and it's irritatingly teenage interface (no, I have no desire to have big brother chat with like minded teens. I'm 29. And grumpy. I wish simply to MAKE AND ANSWER PHONE CALLS. No I do not wish to download that song where that gramatically-challenged bint bangs on about finding a place where she can boogie because "I needs me to party" and "I'm up in the party" and then have it as my bastard ring-tone. Parties are rubbish. I wish simply to MAKE AND ANSWER PHONE CALLS).

Presto chango, I'm offered another lecture this…

Defining moments

So I was reading an article about how golly gosh Lee Evans is appearing in proper theatre rather than just that Norman Wisdom thing he does that the proles like and goodness me he's actually quite good even though he lives in Essex (Evan's being marvellous is no news to those of us who've seen the little known British film Funny Bones, I won't go on about its wonderfulness but you really ought to see it, should you get the chance). And whilst I snorted at the notion of his ability coming as a surprise to anyone (he's done Becket for god's sake) I got to thinking about the little ways we define ourselves.

Ever since I was a small child I wanted to be a writer. Well, actually I wanted to be a footballer but due to my staggering physical ineptitude from a very young age I was fully cognisant that this wasn't going to happen, being last picked every single lunchtime will soon drive those dreams of Wembley right out of your head. For a brief period in my teens I …

An exercise in defeating the object

One would imagine that in posting to a weblog there is a pact between writer and (potential) audience that there will be engaging content. Clearly there is only any point in posting when you have something interesting to say.

This imperative, sadly, is outweighed by the feelings of guilt at having a blog and not posting to it for a while.

So if we have a given value of g (for guilt) and divide it by a given value of of p (for potential interest engendered within the breast of the long-suffering reader) then crucially we still don't have anything that will stand up in court.

Getting into character

Sigh. I was arguing about OuLiPo over on I Love Books and it reminded me of the time I used to regularly read vaguely highbrow stuff...

Okay, that's slightly misleading. I've got Harry Mathews, Slavoj Zizek and the new Pynchon on my reading pile at the moment. I still find time to read, just as I still somehow fnd time to write. Just not enough. But when I'm lying in bed at the end of a bone-shattering night then my brain is a little too fried to cope with it.

Your friend, at this juncture, is genre fiction. Specifically (for me) crime fiction. Fantasy and sci-fi have their adherents (and I'm partial to a spot of Iain Banks from time to time) but really, when I just want to relax and I'm not up to anything overly taxing, you can't beat a brutal murder or nine. Which is why I, seventeen years late, am catching up on Ian Rankin's Rebus novels. And they're great, the prose can be a little clunky, and the use of ellipses somewhat baffling, but the character …

Eh?

Two recent visitors have got here via google searches for "Lynx advert and culture", and, even more entertainingly "Kingmaker shirt" for which i am proud to note that I am number ONE on google. Higher than Kingmaker themselves. In your face early nineties indie!

Even more entertainingly the tories have scrambled to hail some page three girl or other as an "Environmental heroine" after she posed with her tits painted green. Yes, to highlight green issues. In your face Al Gore. I'd make a joke but they practically write themselves.

A view from the kitchen

Those of you who know me will hve a pretty good idea as to why posts have been non-existent recently. Suffice it to say screaming hot pans, knives, hordes of drunks, tinsel. It wasn't fun. And let that be an end to it.

But whilst on the subject of catering I am given to understand that the french restaurant industry is in crisis, with restaurants closing at a rate of knots. Furthermore on the subject of catering I was recently harangued by a drunk guy who, when he discovered I was a chef decided to blame me for the high prices he'd recently been charged at another establishment, spitting slightly in my face as he made his point. I wonder if there were some way I could link these two pieces of information together?

Why, of course!

The french restaurant industry has been struggling for a while now. Some blame the overbearing hegemonic pressure of Monsieur Michelin, others the insidious influence of Le Big Mac. Those with half an eye on the glossy food supplements may opine that it…