Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beadle's Not About

So Jeremy Beadle has passed on to that great bloopers reel in the sky.

I think the news on Radio 1 summed Beadle up perfectly this morning, when it described him as "famous in the 1980s and early 1990s".

I was never much of a fan of Beadle's About, but was entertained for many years by You've Been Framed, which he presented in its early years as Sunday night prime time fare.

And a quote from the man himself summed up what was probably many a person's view of him - that you imagine he'd be a bit of a dick, but was a likeable enough chap when you met him face to face.

But now he's gone.

Unless this is all a big prank and he's going to leap out of the coffin at his funeral, dressed as a traffic warden....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We Are The Champions (Tonight At Least)


My works football team won its first match of the season this evening, recording a 9-5 victory over the only team below us in the league.

We were ahead from the first minute onwards, and never really looked like being caught. One of the opposition players was sin-binned for lashing out in the first half, and a member of our team will return home to his wife and kids tonight covered in blood, having been shoved head-first into the boards at the side of the pitch.

So, blood and sweat were spilled en route to this maiden victory, but thankfully there weren't any tears.

Unfortunately, the appearance may be my last for a few weeks, given that I'm about to have a grown man attack my feet with knives and pliers. So I signed off with a goal, either our third or fourth of the evening.

And the pleasure of knowing that a colleague who predicted we'd never win now owes all members of tonight's squad a drink.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Under The Knife Revisited

Almost 18 months on, and I'm now lined up for a second spell under the surgeon's knife in the seemingly never-ending quest to fix my knackered toes.

Regular readers (don't you have anything better to do?) will remember that I was first hacked at by the surgeon's blade in October 2006.

Whilst the operation was a complete success, my recovery caused much hilarity and much swearing in Groanin' Towers, as I hopped around the house smacking the bandaged toe off tables, doors and walls.

This time, things will be different. Firstly, because I now live an hour away from my place of work, I'll be excused a few days at the coal face, as my bleeding wounds will make driving and walking impossible.

So, I effectively get three days off work without actually feeling ill. I can lie on the sofa and watch DVDs, continue my push towards European success with Rangers on Football Manager 2008 and generally just lounge around like the lazy slob I am, all with the perfect excuses hanging off the bottom of my legs.

Hopefully the doctor will take one look at my troublesome tootsies and decide to remove both nails completely, allowing me to never again be troubled by ingrowing nails. Most footballers allegedly peak at the age of 28. So this should be my season.....

Friday, January 25, 2008

No Explanation Necessary

Horton's Folly

Praise be!

Horton Carew, famed product of a union between a syphilitic scullion and prominent biscuit maker, now sadly incarcerated in the Dundee Home for the Irretrievably Demented, has returned to the Blogosphere.

I urge you all to visit his electronic diary to hear of his plans for escape.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cheer Up Goth

I've decided to get an emo lawn laid at Dungroanin' this year.


Because it cuts itself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Soap On A Rope

Soapworld is a miserable place.

Mrs Wife's nightly entertainment regime sees us visit Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Albert Square, as well as the occasional stop off in Ramsay Street (literally, in the photograph above taken in 2004).

Tonight's merry little jaunt has seen us "entertained" by a hit and run, blackmail, a baby contracting leukemia, three people arrested for supplying drugs, a gang of teenage thugs terrorising an elderly woman, another "tear-jerking" tale of a hit and run and the stabbing of a teenage boy.

Aside from wallowing in other people's misery, it strikes me that these places can't be especially great places to live.

Imagine being an estate agent selling a house in the picturesque village of Emmerdale.

"Charming four-bed stone farmhouse. Double glazing, gas central heating, gardens to front and rear. Emmerdale is a lively village in the Yorkshire Dales, 15 miles from the town of Hotton. Recent events have included fatal plane and bus crashes and an explosion that wiped out almost half of the village's residents."

I'm sure that would convince most buyers to look elsewhere.

But moving south, buyers in London can't be quite so choosy:

"Two-bedroom terraced town house, situated close to busy local pub, corner shop, garage and tube station. Please ignore the fact that there have been at least two devasting house fires, three fatal car crashes and four murders in this neighbourly east end square in the past 24 years. Oh, and the gangsters who live next door."

Maybe that's why you never see any estate agents move into Albert Square.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Last Man Standing

Mrs Wife and I went to see I Am Legend on Saturday evening.

Aside from being 28 Days Later remade on a Hollywood budget with a topless Will Smith doing chin-ups, the movie was very good.

And, as such things are wont to do, the movie got me thinking about how it would feel to be the last surviving person on Earth.

I've had that daydream on numerous occasions and from quite a young age. These fantasies have never included a mutated species of hairless, photosensitive humans. In fact, I've never really wondered why, in these fantasies, I'm left to wander the Earth alone.

Anyway, I Am Legend rekindled these thoughts. If I woke up tomorrow and found everyone else gone, what would I do?

In the short-term, food isn't going to be a problem. Start by eating everything that is going to go off fairly soon. So I'd be gorging myself on bread, milk, yoghurt, cheese and meat. Except actually cooking meat might be a problem - if everyone else is gone, there's not going to be any power - I don't know how to operate Dounreay, especially on my own.

OK, so back to the start - I need to get some generators. Not a problem, I can have whatever I want from any shop I like. But how do I hook up a generator to my house? Damn, should have paid better attention in physics. No worries, I'm sure I'll muddle through.

Right, so that's power sorted. I can transport anything I like easily - I can use any vehicle I want. So, once the initial shock of being alone on Earth has been overcome, I'm going to be playing with diggers, test driving Porsches along the empty motorways and seeing how much damage I can do with a road roller.

What else do I need to stockpile? Well, presuming that I get that pesky generator working, I'm going to need entertainment. So it's time to empty the shelves of HMV. I'm sure that every movie, ever released, EVER is going to keep me going for the remaining 50 years of my lonely existance.

That is, of course, presuming that I live that long. If I've got all the food in the world to myself, no-one to contract diseases from and no danger of being hit by a bus, can I live a normal lifespan? Perhaps I'd better not attempt to eat the world's remaining supply of chocolate single-handedly - I don't think I could defibrillate my own heart. Especially if I have to hook it up to a generator first.

I won't need to find fresh water, because I have a world full of bottled water at my disposal, not to mention all the bottles and cans of juice. So I'm OK for fluids. May as well experiment with alcohol a bit, seeing as how it's all free. Just be careful not to need my stomach pumped or break a leg doing a drunken walk along a wall. I don't think I could pump my own stomach. And starting that generator when I've got a broken leg could prove troublesome.

So, after a year or so living the high life burning around Britain in my Porsches and watching DVDs, I guess a bit of foreign travel's in order. Can I teach myself to fly a plane? Probably not. Best stick to land and sea. But there's no point sailing to France when I can drive through the Channel Tunnel. In fact, I reckon I can travel practically everywhere with a minimum of sea travel. I can get across Europe no problems, then there's that troublesome Bering Straight stopping me getting into America. Maybe I'll manage to sail across that though.

What else can I do? Have a solo kick-about in the Nou Camp? Rummage through the Queen's underwear drawer (why in hell's name did THAT appear in my head as a suggestion?!)? Decorate the home of my choice with the art of my choice?

I reckon that after 20 years or so of roaming the Earth, I'd have to settle down somewhere. That somewhere may as well be somewhere hot, so I'll go with somewhere Mediterranean, tending to the vineyards and rearing goats. My Mediterranean villa, with the Mona Lisa hung above my bed and a display of Salvador Dali's work in the sitting room, would look out onto my fleet of sports cars, 4x4s and diggers and my battalion of boats bobbing in the harbour.

The next door house can be my store - all the medicines, food, drink, fuel, DVDs, CDs and other odds and ends I'll need for my stretch as Supreme Ruler of the Whole Wide World.

It's going to be a shock if I wake up tomorrow and find this has all come true.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anti-Hijack System

As spotted at The Frog Bog - The Band Meme.

1. Click on this link. The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Click on this link. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Click on this link. The third picture is your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together and you’re done.

My band name is Anti-Hijack System, and our debut album is called Smaller Countries Are Neutral.

Here's the cover (or a rectangular version of it anyway):

Anti-Hijack system are a politically-motivated rock band drawing their inspiration from Rage Against The Machine and Black Flag.

Tracks on the debut album Smaller Countries Are Neutral are:

1. Worth More Than Money (A bombastic opening onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars.)

2. Enough To Die For (A bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars, with lyrics giving a first-person account of the last few minutes in the life of a suicide bomber.)

3. The Ideas of Living (A bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars discussing Marxist theory.)

4. Convenience of the Hour (A Boyzone-style ballad featuring four-way harmonies and a harp.)

5. Recognised Wiser Than Oneself (A bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars, lyrics about George W Bush.)

6. To Succeed As Myself (A bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars giving a modern retelling of the tale of Robert The Bruce.)

7. Quality Of My Work (Instrumental. Bass-heavy bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars.)

8. Who Can Help You? (A bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars. Contains subliminal backwards-masked advert for the Samaritans.)

9. Their Birth As Toys (A bombastic onslaught of drums and chainsaw guitars explaining why Transformers are responsible for the decline of civilisation.)

10. Smaller Countries Are Neutral (An introspective acoustic meditation on the fact that it might always rain in Switzerland, but at least you're not going to be conscripted.)

Why the cyclist on the album cover? Is it a look at man's loney quest for acceptance, struggling against the bigger, more powerful vehicles on life's great road? A view of how travel should be if the world is to survive global warming? Is that backpack packed with explosives, their courier about to deliver his last parcel ahead of his meeting with those virgins in paradise?

Nah, Anti-Hijack System just thought it looked cool.

Crime and Punishment

Good grief - at 4.13pm yesterday (Greenwich Mean Time) a visitor arrived here from Iran (at 7.43pm Tehran time) having searched for pictures of Evangeline Lilly.

Don't you get your hands chopped off for that kind of thing in Iran?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Am The Music Man (Slight Return)

I spotted this meme over at Kali's blog, Masquerade. I've done a similar one in the past, but thought I'd give it a go. Play along if you want to.


1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, iPod etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

Well, I do have love. But I guess that if I didn't, things wouldn't be OK.

2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? The Needle and The Damage Done - Neil Young
I'm not a junky, honest

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Apple Blossom - The White Stripes
I like apple blossom in a girl? News to me.

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Paperback Bible - Lambchop
In need of salvation?

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE? Hung In A Bad Place - Oasis
I've hung around some bad place in my life I suppose, but I wouldn't say it was my life's purpose.

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Rags To Rags - Eels
...I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24.

(Things are getting a tad religious around here today, aren't they?)

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? Standing Out In The Universe - Paul Weller
Well, gee, shucks. I am a bit special I suppose.....

8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Topanga Canyon - John Phillips

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Misfit Love - Queens Of The Stone Age
Is misfit love the love someone feels towards misfits as a group or the love felt between two misfits? See, that's started me thinking about misfit love again.....

10. WHAT IS 2 + 2?Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR EX?Cherry Lips - Archie Bronson Outfit
Ha ha, that's a good one. Cherry lips - is that colour or flavour? Actually, I did have an ex who wore cherry-flavoured lip balm.

If like means love, then yes, Mrs Wife makes me laugh. If it means the people I like as friends, they wouldn't be friends if they didn't make me laugh.

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? You're A Big Girl Now - Bob Dylan
I'm certainly a big boy now (13 stone and rising), but I don't think I'll ever be a big girl.

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Twentieth Century - Cold Chisel
I was 19 when the 20th Century ended. Was I grown up? Probably not.

Well, I do see Mrs Wife every morning. Usually when she's kicking me and telling me to get up.

16. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? The Colors Of The 8th Dimension - Fonda 500
That sounds a bit trippy, might be a cool funeral choice. Although I've already requested Strawberry Fields Forever, Any Day Now and Here It Comes for my funeral.

17. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? Stronger - 30 Seconds To Mars
Certainly not as a result of any time spent in the gym - I hate the gym and refuse to go.

18. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? Stunned Silence - Scott Thomson
Silence can be wonderful, but a stunned silence generally isn't a good thing.

19. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? Rip It Up/Ready Teddy - John lennon
Ripped up teddys? I have a secret history of cuddly toy homicides. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone.

20. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?Assessment - The Beta Band
Do I assess my friends? I don't think so, certainly no more than anyone else does anyway.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bring On The Big Boys

Tonight, the small publishing company I work for plays football against the world's most profitable company.

David and Goliath? Perhaps. Except our results have been broadly similar to those of this supermajor oil company - we've both lost all of our matches.

I'm not sure how many employees this multinational company has in its Aberdeen offices, nor how many of these employees are men keen on playing football. But it's bound to be more than the 11-man squad we have.

Which means that if we record a win tonight, we'll have a struck a blow for the little guy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World

I've heard it said that traffic is an organic entity - not a series of cars sitting nose to tail, but a living creature, its head connected to its tail.

If that's true, the traffic into Aberdeen this morning was a sloth, sitting still and going nowhere.

Anyway, following the day I've had, here's a little bit of amusement to cheer everyone up - things that make blokes proud of themselves.

1. OPENING JARS - She's struggling. You take it from her hands, open it effortlessly and pretend she loosened it for you. She didn't. Jars are men's work.

2. CALLING SOMEONE 'SON' - Especially policeman but even saying it to kids makes you the man.

3. DOING A PROPER SLIDE TACKLE - Beckham free kicks - camp. A Stuart Pearce tackle is the pinnacle of the game, simultaneously winning the ball and crippling the man. Magic.

4. SHARPENING A PENCIL WITH A STANLEY KNIFE - Blunt, is it? Hand it here love. No, I don't need a sharpener, I've got a knife thanks!

5. GOING TO THE TIP - A manly act which combines driving, lifting and - as you thrillingly drop your rubbish into another huge pile of other rubbish - noisy destruction.

6. DRINKING UP - Specifically, rising from the table, slinging your coat over your shoulder and downing two thirds of a pint in one fluid movement. Then nodding towards the door, saying, "Let's go" and striding out while everyone else struggles to catch up with you.
You're hard.

7. HAVING A THIN BIT OF WOOD - in the shed, solely to stir paint with.

8. HAVING A SCAR - Ideally it'll be a facial knife wound, but even an iron burn on the wrist is good. "Ooh, did it hurt". "Nah".

9. HAVING A HANGOVER AND THICK STUBBLE - When birds have been partying they just whinge. You on the other hand have physical evidence of your hardness, sprouting from your face. "Big night?" Grr, what does it look like.

10. NODDING AT COPPERS - A moment's eye contact is all it takes for you to share the unspoken bond. "We've not seen eye to eye in the past",it says, "but someone's got to keep the little scrotes in line".

11. USING POWER TOOLS - Slightly more powerful than you need or can safely handle. Pneumatic drilling? Superb.

12. KICKING A FOOTY AGAINST A GARAGE DOOR - Clang-g-g-g-! Stick that Becks, I kick so hard I set off car alarms.

13. ARRIVING IN A PUB LATE - And everyone cheers you. It doesn't mean you're popular, it just means your mates are pissed. However, the rest of the pub doesn't know that.

14. NOT WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT - Fat is a feminist issue, apparently. Brilliant. Pass the pork scratchings.

15. CARVING THE ROAST - And saying "are you a leg or breast man?" to the blokes and "do you want stuffing?" to the women. Congratulations, you are now your dad.

16. WINKING - Turns women to putty. Doesn't it?

17. TEST SWINGING HAMMERS - Ideally, B&Q would have little changing rooms with mirrors so you could see how rugged you look with any DIY item. Until then, we'll have to make do with the aisles.

18. TAKING OUT £200 FROM A CASHPOINT - Okay, so its for paying the plumber later but with that much cash you feel like a mafia don. The only thing better is peeling notes off the roll later.

19. PHONE CALLS THAT LAST LESS THAN A MINUTE - Unlike birds, we get straight to the point. "Alright? Yep. Drink? Red lion? George, it is then. Seven. See ya."

20. PARALLEL PARKING - Bosh, straight in. First time. Can Schumacher do that? No, because his cars have got no reverse gear which, technically, makes you the worlds best driver.

21. HAVING EARNED THAT PINT - Since the dawn of time, men have toiled in the fields in blistering heat. Why? So when it's over we can stand there in silence, surveying our work with one hand resting on the beer gut while the other nurses a foaming jug of ale. Aaaah.

22. HAVING SOMETHING PROPERLY WRONG WITH YOU - Especially if you didn't make a fuss. "Why was I off, nothing much, just a brain haemorrhage".

23. KNOWING WHICH SCREWDRIVER IS WHICH - "A Phillips? For that? Are you mad, bint?"

24. TAKING A NEWSPAPER INTO THE TOILET - A visual code that says that's right, I'm going in there for a huge, long man-sized dump.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Yesterday morning, I aided Mither in clearing out her attic ahead of her forthcoming house move.

As I've mentioned in the past, my grandparents bought the house in 1963. What I haven't mentioned is that my Grampa was a hoarder - if he thought that something might prove interesting or useful in the future, he kept it.

A garage and garden shed full of 'useful' knick knacks have already been emptied. But it was the loft that was always likely to be the greatest challenge, for it was here that he squirreled stuff away, items that have been up in the rafters for 40 years or more.

And so it proved. Amongst the items we removed from the loft were an archaic set of wooden golf clubs, an eight-track tape player, 78rpm records, a projector screen, one headlight for an unknown vehicle, a tent, my Mither's dollys (Mither will turn 46 this year), 12 unopened bottles of wine, six dozen unused glasses too small to drink anything but neat spirits, a Dumbarton tourist brochure from the late 1960s, a 1978 World Cup commemorative edition of the Radio Times and a wooden crate bearing the legend "Corned Mutton - Product of Argentina".

That is merely a brief cross section of the 50 years of detrritus we removed from the loft yesterday. Also included amongst this interesting stuff were random pieces of copper pipe, assorted pieces of wood and boxes of tiles, some of them broken.

Some of the loot we removed from the loft has been retained, but most of it has now been discarded.

If there's an after life, I'm pretty sure that my Grampa is having a good laugh at us spending three days digging through the assembled flotsam and jetsam from three or four generations of my family.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Thought for the Day:

"It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hey Hey, My My

Jimmy Page turned 63 today. Paul McCartney will reach the official pensionable age of 65 in June. Mick Jagger is a year younger than Macca. Pete Townshend will celebrate his 62nd birthday in May.

If announced, which four tours are likely to be the highest-grossing in the UK this year? If Led Zeppelin tour, there's will almost certainly be amongst the highest-paid gigs in history. Paul McCartney has already lined up one date as part of Livepool's European City of Culture celebrations, so a tour might also be on the cards. The Stones will no doubt continue to drag their mammoth enterprise around the globe, hoovering up the millions as they do so. And The Who have made a recent return to the live arena in support of their first album in decades.

Why have no bands from the past decade, Oasis and U2 excepted, made the same leap to stadium rock? Why instead do people turn out in their droves to hear half The Who sing "I hope I die before I get old"?

Obviously it come down to longevity. The Rolling Stones have ignored the walkouts and deaths of band members to battle on, perfecting their polished live show over more than 40 years. McCartney continues because millions of people around the world still want to hear a Beatle sing Beatles songs (and Ringo playing arenas on the back of Don't Pass Me By and Octopus's Garden isn't likely to be as big a draw).

I may sound critical, but I was amongst the millions who sought tickets for Led Zepellin's comeback gig, and I was impressed with the The Who's show at T In The Park a couple of years back. If Macca does tour, I'll be there, quite possibly screaming like a teenage girl from 1964.

It must be a strange quandry for the artists to be in - with each passing year, with each new performance, they risk damaging their own reputation and sullying their own legends. Yet the public demand for these performances and reunions grows apace.

John Lennon became immortal the instant Mark David Chapman pulled the trigger of his pistol in New York more than 27 years ago. Jimi Hendrix's death saw him annointed the greatest ever guitarist for eternity. For some, Brian Jones and Keith Moon are more spectacularly towering figures than Keith Richards and Roger Daltrey, simply because they are no longer here to descend into middle age and geriatricy in the full view of the public.

Better to burn out and live forever or to fade away comfortable with the legacy you've left behind?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Come Again?

Occasionally, it still surprises me to learn that I'm (much) closer to my 30th birthday than I am to my 18th. But, for the most part, days filled with work, mortgages, petrol prices and the like are a sure-fire way to remind all young adults that they are no longer children (or students).

However, in some ways, I just can't grow up. Should I happen to find myself walking across a tiled or laminate floor in only my socks (as in I only have socks on my feet, not that socks are the only thing I'm wearing), I can't resist sliding or attempting my own interpretation of Michael Jackson's dancing.

Another wonderful facet of my childhood that won't be quelled by any number of grey hairs or pension contributions is my inability to eat properly.

Today, whilst sitting at my desk eating yoghurt, I managed, in the short journey from the pot to my mouth, to spill some on my trousers.

White yoghurt. Black trousers.

Despite a flurried spell of activity that involved various methods of attack, including wiping, dabbing and rubbing, my crotch now sports a lively white stain.

Suddenly, people I work with, none of whom has ever gazed at my crotch before, seem to be drawn almost without fail to glimpsing at this stain. This situation then prompts one of two responses:

A) Ignore the fact that the people I spend eight hours a day with are looking at my nethers and continue conversations regardless.


B) State, in a manner-of-fact fashion: "It's yoghurt, honest".

Maybe I need to bite the bullet and invest in one of these.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Back To Work

6.15am is an ungodly hour of the day to get up, especially in winter, and double especially after a two-week holiday.

Waking up and going to work when it's dark, cold and wet is the ideal way to ruin a good day.

I just can't understand those people who, having won twenty million quid on the lottery, announce: "But I won't be quitting my job, I just love it so much".

Unless you're a rock'n'roll star, professional footballer, Playboy photographer or porn star, why would ANYONE continue working if they didn't have to?

You get up at the crack of, or well before, dawn. Spend eight hours in a shitty office doing something boring with a bunch of people doing equally boring stuff, go home again in the same dark and shitty weather, and pay tax on it all.

I'm only 27, but I'd retire tomorrow if it was financially viable. I've suggested this to Mither and Mrs Wife in the past, and they both claim I'd be bored.

Nonsense. I'd have a whale of a time, doing what I want when I want. I'd write a novel eventually, I'm sure I'd manage to squeeze one out over 40 years. I'd play a lot of computer games and read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies and listen to a lot of music.

The first day back at work ALWAYS sucks.....

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Royal Hoo-Ha

When you've finished watching the Hendrix video below (and let's face it, you'll need to watch it more than once) head on over to Alastair's Heart Monitor for this excellent post on a sadly defunct British spectator sport.

James Marshall Hendrix

This morning has been one of those where I've been hopping around YouTube from video to video, mostly looking for videos of Michael Jackson dancing, Cream in their prime and, especially, vintage Hendrix.

One of my favourite sounds in the whole world is an acoustic guitar being played by someone who really knows what they're doing. And when that acoustic guitar has twelve strings and is being played by the greatest guitarist ever - well, that's just perfection:

Forty years on and STILL untouchable.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Herge's Adventures of Groanin' Jock

Happy New Year to you all. Mrs Wife and I are now back on Scottish soil following our jaunt to Brussels for Hogmanay.

The weather held up for most of the trip, only turning to freezing rain on our final day in Belgium, although we did encounter some snow at Waterloo.

What have we discovered from our time on the continent?

1) When chocolate is found in any state other than completely solid, I am a serious risk to myself and others around me. This applies to drinking chocolate, chocolate fountains, the fillings found inside individual chocolates and the cocoa dusting applied to truffels. In short, if you want to avoid chocolate/clothes-based mishaps, minimise my involvement.

2) Belgium, located almost slap-bang in the middle of western Europe, has acquired facets of its national characteristics from its neighbours. These include the humility and good manners of the French, the the stunning good looks of the Germans and the Italians' attitude to queuing. As Misssy warned me, the Belgians ain't too good-looking. Mrs Wife disagrees, and reckons that the men aren't too bad. But most of the women are horrors. Nonetheless, their cooking is pretty good and their beer is unsurpassed.

3) I don't know how I've lasted almost 28 years on this planet without experiencing cherry beer, which now joins pear cider amongst my favourite drinks. "Un grand Mort Subite, S'il vous plait" is the one French phrase I truly mastered whilst in Brussels.

And now we have a weekend of recovery before returning to the wonderful world of work. Thankfully, most of the snow seems to have gone, so I've been spared the nightmare Montrose to Aberdeen drive in the dark during a blizzard. Hurrah!