Thursday, September 30, 2004
Saturday, June 12, 2004
This is the new dawn.
Friday, June 11, 2004
Change is good. Apart from copper coins, which are bad.
I have a new home, far from this corporate city with its black smog and hideous advertising billboards.
I have a home in the clouds.
Posts that have been worth reading here or at cheesetoasties have been copied across, and filed under their proper date. All ten of them.
It's a beautiful new site, built by the lovely Richard Cobbett, just for me. And it's on Ice - the only server in the world that contains absolutely no advertising whatsoever.
So update bookmarks and the like. You wouldn't believe the amount of traffic coming to this site via the old address... Actually, you would. It's about five people a day. That's not hard to believe. I was showing off. Sorry.
"Perhaps this narcissism, this restless urge to affirm some kind of identity, stems from the response to the untimely death of Diana Princess of Wales. In the mawkish aftermath of that event, one Susie Orbach opined that the English were beginning to learn about “emotional literacy ”, the sort of piffle that silly people come up with to block channels of clear thinking."
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
A big thank you to Cian for pointing this out to me - interesting to read a similar argument, but from the perspective of someone who seeks to see a true expression of patriotism. I would rather see none. It's a fun article, full of lots of entertaining points of contention.
Stupid people are far better organised.
Sunday, June 06, 2004
This fills me with great dread. As I drove back and forth the Bristol this week, I noticed more and more of these hideous UKIP posters and stickers all over the place. On the same journey, I've seen nothing for any other political parties, but for an open-topped New Labour bus shedding dangerous balloons all over Bristol's already-dangerous-enough behemothic roads. How is this the case? How is it that the xenophobic, nationalistic hate-mongers are able to blanket advertise themselves, while the FAR richer major parties haven't a sign to be seen? Advertising works, and this scares me very much.
However, this isn't the only Stupidity Sign that's been crammed into my face the last few days. The last thing anyone needs with this ludicrous miserable humidity (for goodness sakes, there was a major astronomical event this morning, and the Sun failed to be hidden behind the purple thunder clouds and inexplicable black acrid plumes of smoke expected for such occasions), is to see car after car sporting these pathetic plastic 'England' flags.
The Comic Relief meme of having plastic noses adorn the front bumpers of cars was fairly wretched. "I've given money to Comic Relief! Look! SEE!". However, this latest money-for-no-one virus reaches new levels of tedious pointlessness.
I don't care that you are supporting England. It doesn't matter to me, nor anyone else in the universe. It will make no difference to the result of the football matches, it will provide no encouragement to the players in the team. It is a ridiculous, meaningless exercise in vacuous flag waving emptiness. The notion of supporting a team serves to add a level of enjoyment to one's experience when watching a game. It has no other purpose. While people may use language and behave in a way that suggests otherwise, you share no part in the victory of the winning team. You merely celebrate a satisfactory conclusion to your emotional input. Attaching a semiotic stick to the door frame of your car can in no way enhance this. It is merely an exercise in shouting at other people.
People may wear the t-shirt of a favourite band to demonstrate their appreciation in a public form. I am not suggesting that an outward expression of support is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. I am suggesting that decorating your car with a dozen cheap plastic St. George's crosses is an act of public grossness.
Hang on. But this is England's flag. Shouldn't English people be free to fly it as much as they wish? Sure, it's become associated with hooliganism and the BNP like to chuck it around, but can't we reclaim it for what it used to mean? This is the flag of St. George, a heroic figure...
Ah, St. George. That famous English hero... No, wait, he was from Nicomedia, in present-day Turkey. Oops. So presumably, were St. George to attempt to visit Glastonbury today, he'd not get past immigration control on account of looking a bit Middle Eastern.
He seems to have been a pretty good guy - martyred in the 4th century (a beheading for him) for protesting against persecution. In, er, the Middle East. However, his adoption by England has not a great deal to be proud of. His patronage occurred during those glorious days of the Crusades, under the vile leadership of Richard I. His emblem, the red cross on a white background intended to be a sign of his martyrdom, became a symbol worn by England's invading armies in 13th and 14th centuries. The martyr's red cross, earned by George for fighting against his oppressors, became the banner of the oppression England spread around the world.
Ever since, the mark has been synonymous with the invasion of other nations in the name of "Christian mission". It's hard to find a single good thing to say about it. The Counter Reformation repopularised the myth of his dragon killing ways (Killing dragons, for goodness sakes. Cheers, Pretend George, thanks for killing off our best mythological creature. Maybe he's responsible for the woeful lack of unicorns as well), as the church began invading areas of Africa, India and the Americas that had previously been dismissed as being populated by dragons. And so on and on, and on.
It would seem that the adoption of this literal semiotic flag by hooligans and extreme right-wing parties is only appropriate. How fitting that they should choose to present their blind hatred with this red cross, as that's all it's represented for the last 1700 years. England has no use for this flag. Perhaps if Turkey were to stop mass-slaughtering the Kurds living in their country, they could reappropriate the symbol for its long-forgotten meaning. However, as they are currently oppressing the world's largest ethnic group without a homeland, it would seem a little inappropriate there as well.
But ranting requires a suggestion for positive action if it's to be more than shouting at the wind. And this is my suggestion:
Get European flags, as tacky and plastic as you wish, and attach them to your cars. Subvert this senseless meme, in as peaceful a way as is possible. This forthcoming sporting event is the UEFA European Championship. So let's satirise it in the best way possible - let's support everyone taking part. And let's stand against the UKIP where the major political parties aren't. Let's get organised.
Update: 2454 hits on the auction. 6 bids.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
I wasn't going to mention this on here. It seemed cheap somehow. But it's now gained the sort of novelty value worthy of a mention.
Friday, May 28, 2004
I've put some very rare freebie Baldur's Gate II paraphernalia onto eBay, to see if it can go to a home that will love it in the manner only appropriate for obscure specialist novelty items. That I may profit from this endevour is purely one of those strange acts of providence with which I cannot hope to argue.
A Baldur's Gate II Premium Golden Ale and Tankard
The reason I mention it: The lovely Jon Hicks (which reminds me, I should probably have mentioned, I'm soon to become Jonty's housemate - more soon) sent word of the auction to a website called Blue's News, which has linked to it as part of its "Auctions of the Day" section.
In the last four hours, the auction has received 968 hits. NINE HUNDRED AND SIXTY EIGHT. And four bids.
In conclusion, readers of Blue's News are cheapskates and should learn to recognise a good, if potentially poisonous, bargain when they see one. The fools.
I have a plan.
Friday, May 21, 2004
This summer, I am going to discover the treasure of the Knights Templar.
Now, I'm aware that a lot of people have made this claim before, and others even go so far as to deny that the treasure exists (the wrongfaced fools), but they have all made one mistake: They've given it some thought beforehand.
I intend to go in blind and ignorant. For is it not those who don't deserve things that usually get them? I will deliberately attempt to engineer such circumstances for myself. And I believe that doing this on purpose only further increases my chances, as I throw arrogance into the mix.
Rather than actually doing any research for myself, I've managed to combine laziness with arrogance, and emailed the Godfather of adventure games, Charles Cecil. He's something of an authority on the subject, and has much better things to do than bother with my silly questions. So now I know where to go, most especially here.
I believe that all holiday destinations should be described as "unassailable".
I really am intending to do this. If I can find a cheap enough way to get to the South of France, and a cheap enough way to stay there, then it will all be go. I suppose I really shouldn't be worrying about the costs, what with how rich I'll be on return. But that has the faint hint of planning ahead about it, and I don't want to let that slip in.
If anyone has any very useful information about the Route des Cathars, Carcasonne and Colliours, especially good places to stay (anything from youth hostels and upwards), please let me know. I will share a small amount of gold with anyone who helps.
Here is an important thing: When you go for a bike ride, go uphill first.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
I am horribly unfit. Firstly I'm overweight - not grotesquely so, but enough that when I see my reflection in a shop window, I double-take and think, "that can't possibly be my belly," before the crushing realisation that it is. I have man-boobies.
Unfortunately, because getting fat(ter) is a gradual process, it sneaks up on you. That's almost true. Whenever I visit my parents, my mum tends to greet me with a cry of, "Look at the SIZE of you." But in-between times, it sneaks up on me. But what's really made me feel like the Blubberwhale King has been climbing flights of stairs. If I'm in the position of having to go up a couple of floors, I'll trot my way quite happily, until I reach the floor I'm stopping at, and find that I'm having a heart attack. This proves inconvenient on a regular basis.
So something in my brain has snapped, and decided: it's time to do at least something. I found myself, quite involuntarily, pumping up the tyres on my bike. The bike that has remained on the same spot on my roof (well, the shop's roof, and my bit of it) for a year. I'd forgotten that it has two different types of tyres, and so needs two different pumps, and I could only find one. (The other one, it turned out, was clipped to frame of the bike, which seems a ridiculous place to put it). So I drove to the place I was planning to cycle to, borrowed a bike pump while I was there, and drove back. Pumped the tyre up. Stood back. Looked at the bike and realised I now didn't have a reason to ride it. Failure.
So yesterday I defiantly rode it to a meeting in the village, despite the rain. An incredible 500 metres or so.
Which brings us to this afternoon. Tonight I'm taking my younger youth group on a walk. I thought it would be a very good idea to take my bike to check the route, remember where we were going. Genius. The rough route would take us down the valley, along near the canal, and then back up again. And so down the hill I cycled. I was going incredible speeds, 50, 60 thousand miles an hour. And when I got to the bottom, I was thinking, "I live in the most incredible place! Why have I wasted living in such a beautiful area?" I wasn't going to stop there. The road doubles back on itself, leading to a weir and a nice riverside pub. I know this, because I have driven there.
So I hurtled along, faster and faster, flies and my eyes becoming as one, and then at the end of the road, where it sloped up quite steeply, I didn't get off - I just pumped my way up. I WAS VICTORIOUS. I had a celebratory glass of Coke in the pub, which the nice lady gave me for 10p cheaper as I was just short with the change in my pocket. I felt remarkably good, sat at wooden outdoor table, overlooking the river, surrounded by green in every direction. (Except for up).
There's no real need to go on, is there? I thought the sensiblest thing to do would be to go up the bridle path that cuts a straight line all the way up the hill, rather than the meandering, weaving path of the roads. For the fun of it, I thought I'd see how far I could cycle up it. About a metre. But that's not because I'm the rubbish King Blubberwhale, but because this path is just shy of vertical. I wasn't entirely sure why the myriad stones and rocks weren't all rolling their way to the bottom. About halfway up, my bike became a sort of two-wheeled zimmer-frame. Two thirds of the way I up I made a solemn life-oath that I would never, ever cycle to the bottom of that hill again.
At the top, I realised I had no idea where I was. Which was only bad because it meant I didn't know how much at the bottom of the world I still was. Correctly picking right bore me out onto a familiar road, at the bottom of a horrible hill, but at least close to home. I didn't cycle the hill - I didn't have the strength. But I did ride the last five minutes home from the top.
The thought that dominated, when "never do this again" gave it room, was "I cannot believe I thought this would be a good idea before going on a walk tonight." I have no idea if I'll survive, or if I will have to be dragged by twenty twelve year olds, all singing "KING BLUBBERWHALE IS DEAD!" before a celebratory dance.
However, getting back I realise that I am in fact just the slightly overweight King of All Things Good and Decent, and that it might be fun to see if the route gets easier through repeating.
I might be mad now.
Today I finally made some use of this sunshine we appear to be having.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Fresh hair cut and purpled, I left my curtain encrusted hovel for exterior exposure, and lunch with Kieron and Jim in a pub 'garden'. This was followed by some wanton sitting on grass in the middle of the afternoon.
This feels right. Obviously, sitting around in the sunshine when everyone else is at work feels right - how can it be wrong? But I mean, this feels like the right way around for me at the moment. I allowed a brief glimmer of guilt to flash through me, knowing that others on my course were probably doing some sort of youth work paperwork rubbish, or writing journals, or somesuch worthy activity far more impressive than sitting in the park and talking about Thief. But then I remembered that I'd finished work at 4am this morning, and yet gotten up before 10. Work, see. Reviewing some rubbish RPG thing for Format. And then moreso - Wednesday is my day off! Because come Sunday, I'll be working from 9.30am until 9pm. Admittedly with a gap in the afternoon, but that shall be inevitably filled with writing journals. On a day that isn't my day off. This is the way my brain has always intended to work - late at night, with day time for goofing around.
I know Steve D will be groaning, slapping his forehead, and planning to slap mine in a couple of weeks (his 13 year old daughter Miriam has asked me to be her godfather at her baptism - very proud). But it's in moderation. 4am is exceptional. 2.30am is normal, and quite acceptable, thankyouverymuch.
That youth groups take place in the evenings seems ideal for this pattern, but that other people exist in the daytimes does not make for a helpful planning side to all this. Ever moreso, I find myself thinking in the direction of eschewing full time youth work once I'm qualified, and instead sticking to voluntary stuff, in order that I can continue my gratuitous lifestyle. And hopefully take on more work without fear of clashes with college, essays, journals, meetings, weekends away, having to stay overnight in Bristol half the week, and on and on and on and on and indeed on. Oh, you poor folks, you don't need to know this.
Lunch included the inevitable portion of Mocking John for Being a Christian. This is all done within the realms of friendly banter... I tell myself. I am an object of curiosity, for that at least. Anyway, this lead on to Jim's formation of an entirely new religion and deity, Horace the Endless Bear. In an act that may possibly conflict with my current faith, I have found myself pledging, in the event of surviving a nuclear holocaust, to promote this religion alone to the few that still live.
And finally, it became very important that I do this:
In the shop window of the Spar below my house.
So this is what the previous post was meant to be about - the being inspired yet uninspired thing.
I have an idea for a radio comedy programme that I think is good, and might work. Problem is, I've no one to write it with, and I've always figured I'm one half of an effective writing team.
This matches up with my theory about marriage - I figure that I'm one half of a very effective team for surviving life. Trouble is, my teammate seems missing.
So all I'm after is a comedy writing wife. That's all.
However, I will settle for a comedy writing fake wife, if absolutely necessary. So what I'm looking for is someone who listens to Radio 4 all day long, every day, despite hating most of its output. If you don't listen to Radio 4 all day long despite hating most of its output, then that probably sounds quite a weird thing to do, and even more weird to expect someone else to do it too. However, if you're the person whose brain (and potential marital status) I'm looking for, then you'll entirely understand what I mean. Oh, and you need to want to write comedy too.
My hopes aren't exactly super-high that anything will come of this appeal. Comedy writing partners are only found by mistake or at an Oxbridge college. The latter is a little unlikely, and I'm bored of waiting for the former, so at least I gave this a go.
Email me if you're interested.