Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Fireworks welcome in 2003 at Sydney Harbour, still 9 hours to go here.

Another newish phenenomenon, to go along with the garish decorations on every house will occur in a few hours. On the stroke of midnight it will seem as if every house in the country is letting off industrial strength fireworks. It is intriguing how these things just sort of catch on. I have to say it's pretty spectacular from up this mountain, we can see straight over to Newport and it's a fantastic free show!

Some best ofs.
Best Track:
Without any shadow of a doubt and with no fear of contradiction, "Do You Realise" by Flaming Lips. Track , video and entire album available to listen to on their website.

Best Albums:
Jesse Malin: Fine Art of Self Destruction.
Neko Case: Blacklisted
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights
Brendan Benson: Lapalco
Mariza: Fado Em Mim
Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Manu Chao: Esperanza A bit late with this one!
Also revisited loads of old stuff and thanks to MVC selling it all off for threepence halfpenny the South Wales valleys have been treated to loads of Seventies dub reggae as I go about my daily business.

Best Telly:
The Sopranos
The Shield

Best Books:
The best book I read all year was written in something like 1967: Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornberg, brilliant.
The Ice Storm by Scott Phillips has me salivating for the UK release of the follow up.
Loads of Pelecanos, each as good as the other.
Janet Evanovich for light relief.
A bit of Bukowski
Also got around to reading The Long Firm by Jake Arnott at last..very good.
The Rotters Club was interesting from a personal point of view but essentially it was boring old crap for middle class tossers.

Best Blog:

Best sporting moment:
Play Off Final!!!

Worst sporting Moment:
Play off final!!!!

Best Laugh:

There is something about Gerard Houllier and his poxy red scarf that really grates with me. He is squealing now that Francis Jeffers conned the ref into giving Arsenal a penalty against Liverpool on Sunday. Well I couldn't care less whether he did or he didn't but this is the same Houllier who went on national T.V after Barmby had won a penalty against us in a cup game to state that Barmby had been fouled and he had the bruises to prove it, only for replays to show he never been touched, not even close.
Aside from the fact that Barmby is another irritating tit, it's fair enough to win a penalty by dubious means. Just don't lie it about then complain when someone else does the same. Perhaps the debonair Gerard should start a campaign to introduce the Corinthian spirit into the game, and start by putting his own house in order.

A crude history of oil, Iraq, Iran and various interested parties. Head spinning.

Found this barking American Football game involving a guy in a wheelchair at Sportsfilter. My highest score so far is 2.

Ms Ross is unwell

Eclectic selection of the years best albums from The New York Observer

Despite being UScentric, this is very cool, and I applaud it.

Monday, December 30, 2002

A brief history of the glory hunting football fan.

I know the US is emarked upon a war against terror, not a war to inculcate civilised standards of prisoners rights but bugger me it is hard to defend torture.

The U.S is distributing free literature to its troops. Well free books can't be a bad thing, wonder if Chomsky will get on the list.

It may have escaped your notice but the world championship of darts is on, which can only mean one thing: Sid Waddell. The doyen of sports broadcasting gives great interview; I defy anyone to read his account of Fred Trueman trying to read an autocue and not piss themselves. Of course you would have to be aware of who Fred is for full impact but it's funny anyway.

I never thought I would ever set foot in Pizza Hut, but there you go, your perspective changes a bit when you have kids. They have just opened a new one in Cwmbran and believe me, in Cwmbran a Pizza Hut is the height of sophistication. I had noticed walking past the other day that they were offering 2 free kids meals if you bought an adult pizza, and as Mrs Buddha had gone back to work today and the nippers were fed up, off we trotted.
2 kids and an adult menu arrived and we ordered. While waiting I started idly reading the literature lying about, including the small print on the offer. 2 free kids meals with every medium or large pizza. Oh well, cest la vie, when asked what size I wanted I asked for the options and was told individual, double or triple, being as there was only me I asked for an individual, which of course is small.
Now if I was a dopey waitress with many spots I think I might have pointed out to myself that I was diddling myself; by ordering a larger pizza I would save myself about 9 quid. That's what I would have done, but our waitress was too dopey and spotty to care. She was also too dopey to give the nippers some crayons and colouring books to keep them occupied during what turned out to be a very long wait, neither did she give them their toys (poxy as they are nippers like theses things). She was also too dopey to tell me that an individual sized pizza was ok for an individual cat but not a fat article like me. 18 chuffin quid, nine of them uneccessary, and I came out starving! Kids loved it though.
To cap it all, taking the daughter to the toilet I was stopped by a waitress and asked if I was Fat Buddha. Yep said I, Mrs Buddha is on the phone she said needing to speak to you. She had broke down on way home from work. Cam belt gone. This on top of my cars misfortunes. It has been a very, very expensive couple of weeks one way or another and we ain't paid again until the end of January.
And the the two youngest have this very evening exhibited vivid signs of having caught nipper number ones chicken pox. Happy bleedin new year. I feel like Tony Hancock.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Salon review of Gangs of New York.

According to Ian Ridley in The Observer, Rooneys tackle against us last week was somewhwere between a red and a yellow card. Excuse me?? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I hadn't realised the Premier League had introduced orange chuffin cards. I like Ridleys journalism usually, he is very astute and has an empathy with the underdog or those who have come through straightened circumstances, but this takes the biscuit. He admits in his article that his view is tempered by the fact that the offence was committed against Birmingham, and sort of suggests that we deserve all we get, because we are an unlovely club.
Well, I can live with that up to a point, it would be hard for a neutral to find much about us that is aesthetically pleasing and you would be staring at some of our supporters for a very long time before the word beautiful popped into your head, and he will have only have visited, if at all, when the place has been a bit of a cauldron. The Guardian and The Observer seem to have developed a bit of a thing about us though and it grates. Why go on about our shortcomings in article about a player for another team. We were left with ten men after that tackle and our player ended up with 8 stitches. We were so short of cover as result that yesterday, against Manchester United we had a 17 year old up against Beckham and finished with a mediocre centre forward at centre half, a centre forward in fact who got sent off last week as a result of a total inability to time a tackle. A bit of credit where it is due wouldn't go amiss.
Anyway before we go overboard about the likes of Rooney and Milner we do well to recall the career of Nigel Jemson.
Ridley on phone ins.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Poor, sensitive Aussie batsman takes umbrage at the travelling England cricket fans. Nice to know we can upset their equlibrium, even if it's only in the contest for most annoying tits in the world championship.

If I were an angel, I would be an angel of love. Lots of quizzes which will tell you all sorts about yourself, or help you make decisions here.

LA weekly has published its best and worst lists for the year. In music it is good to see Brendan Benson get a mention. Astonishingly, according to one of the reviewers, one of the best gigs of the year was Rezillos. Rezillos??? I am astonished to find they are still going, their first album is still a power pop classic and they were responsible for one of the best and most riotous nights ever at Barbarellas.

Anyone with any sense knows that the Jonathan Ross show on radio 2 on a Saturday morning is essential listening. Great music, the like of which you will rarely hear elsewhere, even if the sycophantic laughter of his sidekick is a tad irritating so early of a Saturday morning. It is even better when he is away and Mark Lamarr sits in. Not as funny, Lamarr is a bit earnest for a comic, but the music content tends to be just the other side of brilliant.
Among the guests today were Chas Smash, Mark Steele and Paul Simonon. They spent a good 30-40 minutes discussing Strummer and played some classic tracks, including a belter from the 101ers. It was good stuff, and they all insisted on the goodness of the bloke and the fact that he was genuine geezer and a lover of his fellow humans, filled with warmth and compassion. Lamarr alluded to some pep talk Strummer gave him but wouldn't go into details.
Anyway, it was a proper chuffin tribute and the whole show is available online for a week. Scroll down after clicking the link and click on hear it again, It will be Ross not Lamarr you should click on. The Strummer stuff is about 90 mins in, so if that is all you want, you will have to keep skipping forward.

Friday, December 27, 2002

I don't want to offend the lovely and fragrant Bluetitch by appearing to ignore her 5, so I will explain why I can't answer it. Believe it or not it is a short answer; it's all to do with new years resolutions, well, I have never in my life made one and I don't intend to start now.

Had a chuffing good day, some of the family got together, a rare occurence outside of funerals. Pissed from very early on, for a change. Quite late now and bobharfords nipper has stayed over and is demanding balsamic chitterling sarnies.

Blues v Man U tommorrow. No rational person would expect anything other than a stuffing for us, but...but...when did reason ever come into it?? Me and about a half dozen other Blues fans saw us beat probably one of the best ever Liverpool sides 3-2 at Anfield, at a time when they were really going for the points. If we had been rational beings we would not have been within 100 miles of the place. There is always hope. However, I can't see Man U losing 3 on the trot, certainly not against a ragged arsed bunch of cloggers and misfits like us.

Hugh Mungus is threatening to quit blogging, he thinks he's not much good at it. I hesitate before pointing out my archive, but it's there in all it's humiliating glory. He thinks this is a good blog along with Ragamuffins, and leaving aside all modesty I think he has a point I think what I do is o.k, but hardly earth shattering. What Rags does is very much more than o.k but that dude is an exception. Mungus has made a fucking good start to his blogging. Visit his site, say hello, give him big love.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

A Christmas message from, North Korea to the U.S. Worrying. (NY Times)

The existential sensibility of hip hop
Fuck hip hop

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

A bit of history

Not so happy Christmas

Well, its been a brilliant day all round, peace love and happiness was certainly the order of the day in our house; expensive as they are nippers are a chuffing delight.

The Saudi school curriculum might go some way to providing the answer to why so many of the buggers seem to be bloodthirsty terrorists.
Interesting piece on the logic of suicide attacks.
How to celebrate Christmas in that most tolerant and open of Arab countries, Saudi Arabia.

Skipping game, gruesome.

There is a really good thread on Strummer over at Plastic. It actually raised a smile, when one bloke pointed out that hanging around with the Pogues is a hazardous business. It was about this time last year that Kirsty Mcoll got killed by one of those jet ski thingys.

They are having some chuffin weather in America. Cool pics here.

Brilliant article by William Dalyrmple on the similarities of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

More like this here, ta Rags.

Well, it's officially Christmas. I just watched the Snowman with the two youngest, one of whom promptly fell asleep on my belly. Have been far too well organised this year, everything bought days ago. Cranberry sauce, made days ago, likewise the cranberry, chestnut and bacon stuffing. Giblet stock is done and the pussies have had the giblets, and the gammon has simmered in cider for a couple of hours and is now finishing in the oven. I had a mountain of sausage rolls but BobHarford paid a visit and scoffed em so I will have to make some more. Other than that nothing left to do but get pissed. The toilet is knackered but Mrs Buddha is sorting that out.
Happy Chuffing Christmas to everyone.

Track Santa

A while back I ranted on a bit about our lights on the tree in the front garden being vandalised. I have ranted on many times about the perils of living between 2 large council estates and the ensuing anti social behaviour we have to put up with. Thats the beauty of a blog: license to vent.
The other day, just about the time Ralphies head was getting bounced off the floor, there was a loud banging on the window, causing me to just about shit myself. It was one of the neighbours, someone I am on nodding terms with on a verbose day. The longest chat we have have had was them accusing our cats of nicking their milk and me telling them to fuck off and whistle unless they could provide documentary proof. Anyway, she was sorry to trouble me and all that, and hoped I didn't mind but her and man had noticed our lights had been vandalised so had gone out and bought us some replacements. Heavy duty mothers that no one would vandalise in a hurry. Then just now, bang bang bang again. She had brought over a load of pressies for the nippers. Next door are always bringing them little things, and yesterday gave them all some giant chuffin chocolate Santa's. By and large though I still think most of em are chunts, if you think I am overdosing on goodwill.

Having noticed Interpol on numerous U.S end of year best of lists, I had to download a track just to check them out. I have been downloading ever since, superb stuff. They are in Brum on January 28 and amazingly I can get to see them locally on Feb 8, which is nipper number ones birthday, so I might have to do some negotiating.

Jumping Fences has compiled a list of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year, interesting stuff. Flaming Lips and Wilco feature prominently of course. The more personal list is also interesting, for me anyway, in that it features Brendan Benson, The Handsome Family, Laura Cantrell, the Lips, obviously, Cornershop, Jason Ringenberg and of course Wilco, all stuff I have enjoyed this year. Their list of neglected albums is worth a perusal too. It has A.M by Wilco on it, I picked that up for about threepence halfpenny in the summer, its a class album, this is a good site.

Good article on John Gotti


Sledging game, very good.
I shall attempt some thoughts on the death of Strummer, but it's hard. This will be like a tiresome personal journal for a few paragraphs, feel free to mock.
First off this is a very bad fucking day. Trying to articulate what I feel is impossible, which is where the genius of the likes of Strummer is seen. I don't believe he was a fantastic lyricist, but he was able, in 3 minutes, to articulate the rage, frustration and impotence of a generation. I still feel all those things all these years later, and it still hasn't been expressed better than in any Clash song you care to mention. Today I sit here, still inarticulate, struggling to find words that have any meaning in the context. He was a true hero, not quite the one man from the era you can say passed the ensuing years with dignity (the rest of the Clash have too), but the one with the biggest profile. I can't see that he would have ever turned into a pantomime dame.

Way back, when we had the excuse of youth for not knowing any better, he allowed those of us who were just, well, po faced adolescents with chips on our shoulders really, to really get into something joyous. Whatever else the Clash were they were first and foremost a glorious racket. A motivated and committed racket, who knew their history and engaged with it. Who brought dub reggae to the masses. Being in Brum I was well aware of dub, but the Clash sort of enabled me to be upfront about my love for it, and also introduced me to more. If nothing else I am grateful for that.

The whole punk thing has become shrouded in mythology but it was quite simple really. We had prog rock which was becoming more and more absurd. We had west coast ego wank rock which was just tiresome, whatever the revisionists now say. We had reggae of course but that was a bit underground. We had disco, which as I recall was despised, but seems to have undergone a renaissance. We had Ferry and Bowie, who even then had their best years behind them. We had Northern Soul which was, well, northern. We had bubblegum pop, and we had sort of anodyne but classy pop like 10 cc and Peter Framton. Then were the old warhorses like Dylan and similar bards like Don Maclean. All very eclectic but not much there to stir the soul or the passions.

Then came pub rock which was an improvement of a kind in that there were was authenticity there, but not much. Then along came bands like Eddie and the Hot Rods and Doctor Feelgood. Now, you will read stuff in the style mags and the Sunday papers that will tell you that at the same time this masive underground thing emerged, the yank bands like the New York Dolls, just blowing everything apart, but it's all cobblers really. Most people were blissfully unaware of Johnny Thunders, but people became aware of that ilk later and placed a far greater importance on them than existed.

The driving force of British punk was the latter day pub rock of Feelgood and the Hot Rods, I am convinced. Fast, furious Rythm and Blues, fuelled by speed. Glorious.

Whatever, all around and about the same time, it all becomes a blur, things started to happen. I well recall legging it to the newsagents early every Thursday to make sure I got my copy of NME. Adverts, big ones, started appearing for the Sex Pistols, in London pubs. Prominence was being given to the likes of Ian Dury; west coast rock started to take an almighty slagging. And all the while I felt peculiar, disconnected from any of it. The Rythm and Blues boys were all right, but cockneys, and in any case good live rather than anything else.

I have posted before I think, what a strange year 1976 was. The range of music that was on offer was astonishing, I saw all sorts, absolutely all sorts, all in small venues. Oddest of all though I went to see T Rex. I had never liked them but me and a few other guys were operating on a sort of quid pro quo system whereby we would accompany one another to gigs that at least one of us would hate. Plus we were just growing out of the schoolboy rivalry thing so we were willing to give pretty much anything a try in the interests of camaraderie and comradeship. That night the support act was the Damned, and I have to say it was some night.

Soon after, I was in Barbarellas on a Saturday night for no other reason than I was too precious to go to a disco. Sassafras were on, an awful bunch of Welsh noise makers. We trotted downstairs. There were about 50 punks down there and then Eater came on, and it all ended in a fight. I have to say Eater wrere very far from being in the top rank of punk bands but it sealed ir for me. That night I became a chuffin punk. Those guys just didn't give a shit.

Which was a bit of a problem with punk. The top bands would be top bands in any era, punk had nothing to do with it. So we can break it down a bit. Once it all kicked off, which it didn't very much to be honest, not in Brum anyway, we had major bands, all with their own distinct attitudes.

I have always regarded the Pistols as cartoonish and have never been able to take them seriously, although I thought Lydon as a character was brilliant and super intelligent. Now he is a caricature of himself. Some great riffs on their first album, pity they are played by Chris Spedding. The Damned, well bugger, why did I use cartoonish so soon. The Stranglers I love, but they are/were a bunch of disaffected old geezers taking it out on their instruments. The Jam came along much later and were just a bunch of cunts.

Hedonism and nihilism was the order of the day. Loads of working class chancers having a go and some middle class brats roughing it for a bit. In truth most of it was no more radical than Gary Glitters "Rock n Roll"

So although I was drawn to it, I still felt sort of other. Neither fish nor fowl.

The Clash saved me. To be honest although I loved White Riot and Clash City Rockers and Deny they had largely passed me by in the general maelstrom. My favourite track of the era is "This is Pop" by XTC, having strolled into Barbs one night and heard a dub version of it banging out, very loud, very gut pumelling. The same thing happened another night. I was only ever a half hearted punk really, not wanting to get my head kicked in and would talk people into going to Barbs in the early days, promising them punk girls would shag anyone (sadly untrue). Walked in and White Man was booming out. My life changed right there.

This was Paulian. This record spoke to me and it had and still has everything anyone could ever want in a single. The best record ever, quite simple.

So I went back and reappraised everything else they had done.

Of course beneath the general din they had been profound all along. Remember the context. Ill educated working class youth, wanting to rebel but not knowing how, hating most music he hears, wakes up and it doesn't matter. Strummer is saying it all. He's saying it with wit, passion and intelligence. Fire was burning. All my petty insecurity, all my rage against racism and injustice and privilege; all my wasted innate intelligence: there it was: being bellowed out unashamed and loud. Finally someone was speaking for me. I wish he could speak for me now. God bless the dude. As it were.

Monday, December 23, 2002

"Some thirteen years after the Clash disbanded,
Strummer is still giving rock a kick in its complacent pants."
- Rollingstone

Sad beyond belief.

Ragamuffin left a message on a football message board and it was like being booted very hard, right in the guts, and I feel bruised and battered.
Among all the death and destruction, and human misery our varied media confronts us with on an hourly basis, I manage to keep going. Some of it may upset or outrage me more than others, but I manage to keep a sense of perspective; there is no point getting upset over happenings in far away places over which we have no control. If we weep for one dead child we must weep for them all, so we harden and inure ourselves against it.
The news of Joe Strummers death however has left me distraught, for no fathomable reason. Just another rock star I never knew meets an early grave. He seemed so much more, and always hung on to his ideals and dignity, preferring to make new music with young musicians, keeping abreast of the zeitgeist all the while. In interviews he came across as decent guy, aware of what he had done, always looking for the best in whatever he did, never looking to exploit history.
When you think of the sheer volume of good and genre rattling music the Clash put out in a few short years one cannot fail to be astonished.
I will be raising more than several glasses to one of the good guys. Here's to Joe.

Share your thoughts on Joe.
Mefi thread
Talk about about it on the Guardian talkboards.

I always loved Sandinisat from the day I carried it home in all its bulk on the day it was released, I could never understand the slagging it always got. Fascinating Rolling Stone review of it from 1981 here. Courtesy of the aforementioned mefi link.

New York Daily News on Gangs of New York
Chicago Sun-Times on the same.
More from the Boston Phoenix.
The New York Observer is a bit sniffy

There was more pushing and shoving than at the scramble for the last turkey at Christmas. Which is probably how Styles, whose display can best be described as interesting, felt as he was escorted from the pitch after the match. His performance really did deserve the bird.

Let's hear it for: Danny Glover.

The U.S claims that there are crucial ommissions from the dossier which Iraq presented to them. Well there are now: 8000 pages worth to be exact.

As everybody knows, Iraq didn't create its weapons in a vacuum

Interview with a bloke who has written a book on The Smiths.

This is very cool. Learn to play Jingle Bells with your chuffin mouse!

Click around this face and it winks or pouts and does other stuff too. Its a bit disturbing really.

The advertising slogan generator came up with this "Don't Get Mad, Get Idle Thoughts Of Fat Buddha" I like it. And this: "You Like Idle Thoughts Of Fat Buddha. Idle Thoughts Of Fat Buddha Likes You".

The best thing about this time of year is lists, endless lists. I love em. Found this one via fimoculous and its great, for two reasons, the little reviews the guy attaches to each one in his top ten, and the fact that Wilco are at 1 and Flaming Lips at 5. Yet again, as with nearly every American list I've seen, Interpol show strongly. How come I have never heard of these buggers?

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Much as I applaud the sentiments of these fish botherers, the question is begged, what the hell has it got to do with them?

I am reduced to reflecting upon our first half a season in the premier league, having just read the accounts of the Sunday Times and Independent of our game with Charlton. First off, scare mongering stories that non season ticket holders would never see a game have been proved cack, as I suspected they would. There is not a game so far that I could not have got a ticket for, including Villa.
Then, joy of joys, regular coverage on mainstream telly. Cobblers, the ITV premiership show should be cancelled because it is just plain crap, with professional gurners for analysts. The fact that it never shows more than a minute of our games is neither here nor there, it is a bloody awful programme.
Never mind, we have regular coverage in the broadsheets. Well, what we have is regular coverage from florid tits who think purple prose is sufficient to mask a lack of understanding of what is placed before them.
Quality referees!!!!!!!!!!
Honestly, I preferred the lower leagues. Although tickets are available, at least we did not have to plan weeks in advance, and it was chuffin cheaper. Although we are doing ok I hate the mentality that all we need do is survive, I prefer to see us going for it rather than scrapping for points every game. The national broadcast and print media treat us as oiks to be tolerated, it's humiliating, we really are better than that,as a city, as a club and as a set of supporters. The Independent today is astonished that Savage was not sent off, why??
It's being so cheerful that keeps me going.

Pagan midwinter festival

I used to believe.

This is supposed to be about teaching nippers that first impressions are not always what they might seem. It's brilliant.

Short story from Zadie Smith

The year in pictures: slideshow from msnbc

Pitchforks 50 best albums of the year. Good to see The Flaming Lips and Wilco both in the top 5. This is much more than a simple list and well worth a look.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

I don't know what to do. It's 1.30 a.m here and I have just found the best article on parenting ever, and it's seasonal. It's that odd hinterland between today and tomorrow, if I stick it on todays posts no one will see it. But I can't stick it on tomorrows because according to the clock on Blogger tomorrow is still today.
It's so good it will have to have it's own little post all to itself. Believe me it's funny, astute and brilliant.
Funny how all of a sudden I assume people actually read this drivel.

Whoops loooks like it's today after all. I take it all back!

Games room

Images from the Vietnam war.

Little Korean flash game. Unpleasant.

Blues 1 Charlton 1
Not bad I suppose, a point is a point, but we have a very difficult period ahead. I never, ever put money on Blues to win lose or draw. I believe 4-1 is available on us for relegation though and in my opinion that is still a distinct possibility. Everyone knows Christmas is a crucial period, but our upcoming games are make or break. If we can get some points from the next 4 games, any points, we will be ok. We could easily end up with none though and get sucked into the shit, in which case it will be very difficult to climb out.

I am hopeful though, just pointing out that there is generous price about us, not that I would ever take it. I confidently expect us to get another 23 points before now and the end of the season, which will leave us well clear of the drop.

Everton are next up and everyone will have the chance to shout out "OH GAWD THEY'VE HAD TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS PUD!!". Everyone seems surprised by the good form shown by Everton but I'm not, they have an excellent manager who did brilliantly with Preston. As capably as we are performing I would still have preferred him to replace our previous manager rather than Bruce. There is a good profile of him here. Note that he has a passion for knowledge and is the only British manager who possesses the European coaches license. I know some scoff that you don't need a badge to put a few cones out, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and anything that give a side an edge has to be good. The more knowledge you have the greater the possibility of finding that edge.

Interview with our very own Aliou Cisse.

Young Blues fan Flavio recommends listening to Gilles Petterson while you surf. He is sage beyond his years.

Some Santa mythology.

The transfer window.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Cute flash christmas carollers

Train the reindeers

Save the Consumers

In truth, I coudn't give a stuff about Leeds Utd but their deputy chairman has got right up my nose today. He was instrumental in sacking O'leary and now says that results under Venables are having a detrimental effect, on and off the field. Subtext being of course, my shares are going down. Well, the dude has to accept major reponsibility but seems unwilling to do so. Leeds gambled massively, speculating to accumulate, as it were, but screwed up big time. As my Italian friends say, a fish rots from the head down. Mostly though, he has got on my nerves for stating that failing to qualify for the champions league cost Leeds £20 million. Excuse me, how could it? I wasn't aware of the rule that states Leeds must qualify or forfeit 20 million. How much did such a failure cost Blues, or Grimsby, or Leicester? It cost nothing, the same as it cost Leeds. The Geezer is a chuffin idiot.

Alex Petridis of the Guardian is a bit of a twat most of the time; in his round up of the years music though he gets it spot on in bigging up the Streets and Flaming Lips. The Streets sounds better now than when it was released, not because it is full of undiscovered nuance and subtlety but because it shows up how little there is that is in anyway fresh or invigorating. He lets himself down badly with his support of the woeful and gimmick ridden Polyphonic Spree, not to mention The Coral, who could easily subsidise their income by doubling as a Freddie and the Dreamers tribute act.

The Bluetitch 5
1) What is the best Christmas present you've ever received - DO NOT INCLUDE BIRTHS!
2) What is the worst Christmas present you've ever received - DO NOT INCLUDE SOCKS OR TIES!
3) What present are you hoping for?
4) What present are you dreading receiving?
5) Describe your best memories of Christmas

1: The Birth of the baby Jesus
2: Jesus Loves You matching socks and tie set
3: Peace love and happiness
4: A head injury from overbalancing, although I have the properties of a weeble, I always manage to injure myself one way or another at Christmas. Mrs Buddha first fell for me when she had to scoop me out of the casualty department at Cardiff Royal Infirmary on the 23rd December, back when we were young.
5: Well this Christmas really, the eldest is pleasingly still excited by it all, albeit in an understated way, the daughter though, is about fit to explode, I can't see how she will get to Wednesday without spontaneously combusting. It is a delight to behold. Plus I am off for 2 weeks and the FFC has a very nasty surprise waiting for her on Monday.
2 of the above answers are not to be taken entirely seriously.

L.A Weekly review of Kings of New York.
LA Daily News
New Yorker

Thursday, December 19, 2002

It looks like a foreign power is interfering in the affairs of another state for ideological reasons. I await the wrath of the international community but suspect it won't be forthcoming.

Trapped all the way over the other side of Newport to a JJB superstore after work. Miserable journey in the pitch black through miles and miles of roadworks and what for? a chuffing baseball glove! did they have one?...not on your chuffin nelly.

Managed to get a rambling e mail read out on national radio this a.m, I have to admit I was a bit chuffed even if the presenter was a bit snarky about it, the gobshite.

One year on and the US is still fighting in Afghanistan.

Oo bleeding well er. I suppose I should think carefully before calling the FFC an ugly, miserable, bullying old fecker. Found the link on mefi, which also directs us here. Scary.


Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I bet the women of Afghanistan can hardly contain themselves now that the Taliban have gone and they are once again free. Or maybe not.

Make yourself a Steve Bell card.

I find it ludicrous that Ronaldo keeps harvesting player of the year awards, Nike must have been greasing a few palms. For a kick off, he is just plain chuffing ugly. Over the year he has played in the grand total of 17 games. Moreover, he crapped all over Inter Milan, who frankly, deserved better. So, he has hardly kicked a ball, and has proven himself to be of low moral character, yet has performed consistently better than any other player in world football? It stinks. Even though Simon Hattenstone takes a polar view, I would still recommend reading his profile of the snake.

A romance

Don't let Waterman et al steal the Christmas number one slot! Fight back !

"The Catalán preoccupation with shit would make Sigmund Freud proud,": Christmas delicacies in Catalonia.

Latest proposals for the rebuilding of ground zero.(NY Times)

A pox appears to be upon this house.

This is a very sad, odd and intriguing story about a woman who was a highly experienced and well travelled hiker, but who managed to starve herself to death, seemingly unintentionally, a days hike from civilisation.

John Pilger on the "secret" war with Iraq. It's not so secret actually, I would think anyone who tries to keep even slightly abreast of world events is aware of it. He makes some interesting points though. In the Mirror of all places.

The coolest albums of 2002

e Christmas cards.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

If you're happy and you know it bomb Iraq
Sean Penn on the impending war.

Finding daft stuff to post is much easier now that I can plunder Ragamuffins blog, which is where I found this cool Rolf Harris jukebox

Even right wing nutcases have got the Saudi's sussed.

Shift article bemoaning the lack of quality radical journalism on the web.

Himmlers only friend: Fat Buddha

Regime change in Iraq: meet the contenders for the throne.

"In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed an executive order banning political assassination, and that order remains in force". Of course it does.

All sorts of Dylan stuff.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Fulham 0 Blues 1
This was not a time for quiet reflection: The Guardian
It was a brilliant piece of finishing by the American midfielder:The telegraph
"A Merry Christmas to everyone,'' the Tannoy announced ludicrously:The Independent
Birmingham’s arrival in England’s top flight may seem to them like a fairytale, but yesterday there seemed to be plenty of malice in wonderland:The Times.

The dope on turkeys.
If you can still stomach one, use the Delia method. I have been doing this for years and it has never failed.
Look after your tree.

Rampaging Santas: this could take over the world.

Modern Life is rubbish. Ho hum here I go again moaning about the anti social berks I have the misfortune to live amongst. Earlier on this evening I heard loads of bangs. Is that fireworks, I thought, or another car being torched. It was a car. Later, while reading to nipper number one I heard some kids run down the alley next to us pissing themselves. What have those little bastards been up to I thought, then admonished myself. Just kids having fun I rationalised, don't be such a chuffin curmudgeon. Then Mrs Buddha appeared informing me that some kids had ripped the christmas lights out of the tree in the garden and had run down the alley pissing themselves. Trying to be zen like is difficult sometimes.

Friday, December 13, 2002

I always think of Jimmy Stewart around Christmas. Sad saps that we are we describe our ideal house as a "Jimmy Stewart house". Which is a long winded way of pointing to this fantastic Jimmy Stewart appreciation type thingy.

Land the monkey on the moon

Hugh Mungus rescues us Friday Five freaks:
1 What is your favourite Disney Song Ever ?
Bear Neccessities
2 What is your favourite No1 record ever ?
I really don't know, number ones mean nothing to me..."Do They Know It's Christmas" probably. Not really, I hate that piece of trite cack.
Was "Judy Teen" by Cockney Rebel number one? Or something by Sparks? "Amateur Hour" was great. Something from about 1972 or 3 anyway, "Roll away the Stone" by the Mott the Hoople, that will do.
3 What is the most played record you own ?
If the nippers had their way it would be the soundtrack of Shrek, which is ok actually, as these things go, at least it ain't S Club 7 or somesuch. This week the Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Review has been getting severe heat. This year, The Flaming Lips probably, especially as nipper number one loves it and it keeps him quiet while he sings along in the car, if that isn't an oxymoron. Most played ever, probably Sandinista by The Clash, though Wreckless Eric still gets played after all these years, as do Massive Attack, talking of which Feb 10th is a day for your diary.
4 What is the song most you are most likely to sing in shower/bath ?
My old mans a dustman.
5 If you could magic a band , full line up , back together who would it be ?
The Band.
Radical old punk gets found out.

I happened upon a new greatest ever title for a song today. Lady Saw: "Peanut Punch Mek Man Shit Up Gal Bed".

Save the grub from the hairy great spider.

American food.

Zen stories to tell your neighbour.

I don't really do LOL but chatroom made me LOL at least once, and smirk several times.

Should we tell the nippers about Santa or not? No in my opinion, reality will smack the poor wee dabs in the face soon enough. Everyone knows about the teacher in Florida who told her class it was all cobblers, leading the school to bring in a Santa to prove it wasn't cobblers. Brilliant mefi discussion on it.

Their aint no sanity clause.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Woke up this morning to see beautiful, thick, white, snowflakes tumbling from a very heavy sky. We have about an inch on the ground now. Believe me, this is a very big deal around here. Any snow at all is rare and snow that sticks is rarer than a smile on the face of the FFC. I have already managed to crash the car, it wouldn't turn or stop as I was coming home from a futile attempt to get into town, careered straight into the kerb, fucking up a wheel. No grit to be had anywhere in the county apparently, or if there is the council can't find it.
Most of my neighbours have moved their cars and parked on the main road, making hazardous conditions even more hazardous; you have to go straight down the middle of a very steep and ungritted road with no margin for error, praying no one comes the other way. Very dodgy. It's also a slight case of overkill, because even when snow settles around here it never stays long. Chuffin panicking fuddy duddies.
Still it is a beautiful and idyllic scene up this mountain. The nippers are loving it and of course have stayed home from school. They are having the time of their little lives making merry in the garden and I have used one roll of film already. I expect there will be tears when they realise how cold their little donnies are. I have had the opportunity to issue the wisest of fatherly advice: never eat yellow snow.
We used to take the eldest to Birmingham every year to see The Snowman before they shifted it to Lonon. The video comes out regularly and will make an appearance today I expect. The daughter always pipes up at the end, after he has melted and everyone is feeling a bit lachrymose "never mind, he can build another one!"
I expect I will be on snowman building duty later.
What's the difference between snowmen and snow women?....Snowballs!
Build a snowman, and other snowy stuff, from an unlikely source.

A new game show is coming wherin contestants buy and sell shares in celebrities, like a fantasy football league I suppose. It will be big I think, and there is an online version already available. Get in before it is killed by hype.
There is also an American version.

Blast billiards, not only is it good, you can win a couple of bob, provided you aren't crap at it, like me.

Mix of the Week. Groovy.

Why Washington believes itself to be at war

Optical illusions. Concentrate very hard on number 7.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Finally, back in the world of connectivity. I am sure it was those buggers at NTL and not me. Needless to say I had endless trouble installing broadband and spent all afternoon talking to some technical support dude. He had to navigate me down some very dark alleys before I could connect, hence my conviction that they were at fault in the first place. Never mind, I have broadband, and what a wonderful world it is.

John Peel on putting together a compilation, with a little bit of a tribute to Lonnie Donegan thrown in. I thought it would be a good article but a poxy l.p. Wrong it definitley looks ok.

Fantastic panoramas.

I can't remember if I have already linked to this stickman fight or not.

All mechanics need their oil rags and our chief mechanic, the FFC has hers. Apparently this odious little piece of flotsam informed my colleagues today that there are certain people within the team who are not team players. Her ugly mate piped up, yes other teams socialise and go out for lunch, fuckin idiot.
It begs a question, do you define a team player as someone who will help a colleague out of the shit, even if means yet another long and unpaid night, or does it more more accurately describe someone who is only ever seen if there is a jolly going on and who departs the office as fast as her stumpy little legs will carry her if it looks like someone is going to need a bit of help? I honestly don't know.
I suspect this little saga is a long way from being finished.

Bjork video.

More spooky stuff, talking to my brother about what his nippers may or may not like I mentioned The United States of Whatever, which i have to confess, cracks me up. The link just jumped out at me, never even looked for it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

I have been unable to acess the internet at home since Sunday. I thought it was NTL but it's me. I have buggered about, randomly clicking on things I have no knowledge of and uninstalling and reinstalling stuff, but nothing. I can access the net at work but anyone can see my screen before I see them, so It's a bit dodgy. Broadband arrives tomorrow, so hopefully all will be back to normal.

Heat and Dust: the British in India, some of them anyway.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

The do is done. It's all a bit vague but I don't think I disgraced myself. I am not getting waves of embarrasment and disgust with myself anyway. Given that I have no clue how I got home nor any recollection of a conversation Mrs Buddha reckons we had, I will still step into the office on Monday with some trepidation.

John Hegley

As we approach the season of goodwill, I have a message for my gaffer.

This site invites you to read a word then write as much as you can in a minute. Oddly appealling.

The beat page is very good.

Posh revolutionary Tariq Ali wonders just what is so peaceful about Jimmy Carter? Next up for a peace prize will be Poindexter, I suppose.

A poll of 38000 people in 44 countries suggests that young Bush is courting massive worldwide discontent re war with Iraq.

I am a little bewidered by the rate my blog feature. For months there was nothing, it was stuck on about 30 votes. In the last week it has rocketed and now exceeds 80. There is a clear split between those who hate it and those who like it, there is very little in between. Weird, why all of a sudden do people feel like offering an opinion and why no middle ground. Mind you it's a bit like that in real life, I have a tendency to provoke extremes in people. Nice that people notice and take the trouble anyway, even the haters! I love you all.

Death by Ruby.

Surfing around I came across a what's your theme song link. I sort of sussed it would be poxy but signed up and did it anyway, using a genuine e mail address, like a sap. Anyway, my theme song is "my way" by Limp Bizkit. I have never knowingly listened to a Limp Bizkit song, and I suspect I don't want to. If it's anything like the "My Way" written by the French dude and popularised by the blessed Frank and the idiotic Sid I am insulted. I hate that piece of self justifying, self aggrandising shit. Worse, I think I am now inviting e mails from sad 40 something females who are into crap rock. It is a chuffing match making agency.

Got Dylans Rolling Thunder album today. Wouldn't usually mention buying an album or this this blog would consist of nothing else, but I love this chuffer, and I am not a fan, particularly. The reason I mention it is Mr Tambourine Man. I hate it by the Byrds, but he does a great version on this album. Neither stands up to Gene Clarke doing it solo though.

Nobody here

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Good news for UK Sopranos fans. As well as the new episode on e4, in which Paulie is released, on mainstream Channel 4 they are showing the episode where Paulie and Christopher get lost in the woods. Best. Episode. Ever.

Another Blues fans gets blogging. Ragamuffin; this one is definitely worth a look, his status as a Blues fan is entirely incidental to a blog which looks a bit special.

Punch magazine is online, for those who like that sort of thing.

The best folk and world music of 2002, according to froots magazine.
And according to Global Village Idiot.

Learn some jazz history by just clicking around this photo.

Ouga Chaka Zen

All you never wanted to know about the meat we eat. Nasty stuff, not for the squeamish.

Get Your War On surpasses itself. Absolutely brilliant, full of righteous anger. Essential reading.

I packed up smoking when the babbies started to arrive, but even now, the pleasure is tangible, as is the subsequent weight gain. There is some dispute in the little island of joy and happiness that is my workplace between those that do and those that don't. Those that don't, well some of them anyway, complain that those that do take about 20 minutes or more per fag break, which is an accurate enough summation, actually. Unfair goes the cry, "what about the rest of us?". Here is the answer.

Talking of work, the FFC has been unnaturally civil this week, until today anyway, when once again she started to look as if she had just eaten a shit sandwich whenever I uttered. She had been up for a promotion, didn't get it. We are all truly gutted.

This crazy bint sounds a lot like my first Mrs.

Feel like a barney? have one with Socrates

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Steve Bell

Interesting piece on the complexities of the Iraq issue.

The Dave Barry gift guide is a bit of a giggle.

The whole of the Birmingham City F.C fan base seems to be blogging all of a sudden. Hopefully, something here might be of use.

A little slice of Havana.

Another advent calendar. Very cute.

Ads from Biker magazines. Very chuffin camp! The bong one is hilarious.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Eclipse over Zambia June 2001.

"I coulda been a contender". One of the great lines, written by Budd Schulberg, who gives good interview.

Oh dear. The office Christmas do is on Friday, or I should say, the unofficial office do is. I have banned myself from anything that might include the FFC or others of her ilk, because, I have to admit, I just don't know how to behave. I haven't fully lived down last years humiliations yet, so I suppose it is about time to come up with something new. I hope I manage to keep myself upright longer than I managed to keep this drunken Santa from falling off the roof.

Mark Fiore, funny in an obvious sort of way, good but not Steve Bell.

Christ on a bike! lifted from b3ta

I don't believe I have seen a single Steven Seagal film and haven't got a clue who the others in this tale are, so why I should find it so fascinating God only knows.
Similarly, this account of an ex cops attempts to redeem himself by bringinging his gangster brother in law to justice is rivetting.

How to win at blackjack, apparently. I think someone should try it and let me know if it works.

Monday, December 02, 2002

The Guardian seems to have embarked upon a campaign to leave its readership with tears streaming down its face on a daily basis. On Saturday there was an article by Martin Jaques on his relationship with his wife, who died in very tragic and probably unneccessary circumstances. Incredibly sad stuff which I was alerted to by fellow Blues fan young Flavio .
That article isn't online as far as I can see, but another long article by Lindsay Nicholson describing the deaths of first her husband and then her daughter, through leukaemia, is. Hard reading.
The Jacques article is online after all, my spelling was skewiff. This is very painful to read, but worth it. Sort of.

The U.K government has issued a report detailing human rights abuses in Iraq. This is a good thing, It is good to see we are prepared to stand up to bullies and tyrants wherever they may be. Amnesty International believes there has been a bit of cynical manipulation going on. They are undoubtedly right, but it is very hard to have any sympathy with Saddam. Anyway, now that we are in the business of condemning unjust and brutal regimes I expect we will be seeing a dossier on Saudi Arabia very soon.

Some good advice for young Bush from James Rubin
New York Times piece on Kissinger.

A beautiful advent calendar, courtesy of madamjujujive, at mefi.

Ghost town gallery

Sunday, December 01, 2002

An electronic advent calender, trust me, it's good. Only open one present per day though.
Is it me or does all the Christmas nonsense start earlier each year. There isn't a house up our street which doesn't have people up ladders attaching a bewildering array of lights and naff santas. Actually there is, come to think of it.
We will be off to Goytre Wharf later, in the dark and chuffing cold to witness the switching on of the lights. The sally army will be there, of course and all sorts of other bits and bobs for the nippers. Santa will arrive by a lit up bleeding barge! I can hardly wait.

The cognicenti have never abandoned vinyl. You could spend more than a happy few minutes browsing around here to see what's available.

Identikit type pictures. Hours of fun.
A lego version

Ski jumping game. Unbelievably hard.

Half the time, I do not know my arse from my elbow.