Thursday, March 31, 2005

Prince Charles...

is quite the dimwit. Apparently the man is so lazy he has someone squeeze his toothpaste for him (this is no smutty 'oo err' reference, so stop that now) and once when he needed to give a urine sample some poor servant had to hold the bottle. He and his two pampered sons have just been on the six o'clock news on a skiing holiday at Klosters/Kloisters somewhere in the European highlands. He was asked a question and began to whine about reporters. He sat there and complained at having to answer a few suck up questions from an over respectful press before swanning off for a day's skiing. PAID FOR BY US!!!!!

I should have turned off the tv but like a fool I didn't. The Royals infuriate me. Apparently Buckingham Palace has 1000 rooms inside, why? They can't use them all, I bet the Queen has never set one foot in the majority of them. Most of us make do with a modest four, five or even six room houses, okay possibly even seven but 1000! The Royals however are not like us, the greedy blood sucking parasites. If the Royals want a home well then that'll be a thousand rooms thank you very much, and let's not spare the labour. A trip down the Mall in London or the west side of Hyde Park will show you some of the smaller palaces these fuckers own. Or rather we own and pay for and they live in. Oh dear, oh dear, I'm off on one now, an anti-royal rant is just too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel. And speaking of shooting I'm with the Bolsheviks on this (as I am on most things). The best condition in which to encounter a royal is when they're in the shot condition, fiscally it's also very responsible because with shot royals maintainance costs are low.

And whilst we're on the matter of Klosters, or Kloisters, doesn't that name sound just a little too much like 'cloisters'? Public school, dark evenings, dim corners, sweaty fumbles, master coming, ears tweeked, swish of cane, voices 'eeeeked', sent on way, botty sore, maybe oh maybe wanting more...

In fact their discomfort on that bench in Cloisters is perhaps unsurprising. With head so far up arse who knows what memories were being stirred by sitting on treated wood.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I've begun to worry...

lately about covetousness. cov-ver-tess-ness. Bit of a mouthful. Anyway, whilst abed last night the thought ocurred that I covet my mate Clare's skills at blog design, and my mate Beth's ability not only to speak French but also fucking go there and having arrived snowboard like a bastard. I've started French lessons so in fact I only partially covet the multi-talented Beth's multi-talents. I partly covet my mate Karen's immense intellect and definitely covet my mate Sean's Alpha Romeo which is amazing from someone who is not an obsessive car boy. Sean drives this Alpha four door saloon that is the most gorgeous red colour. A red not from any other make as far as I can see. In those mad names that plague the paint world I reckon his car is coloured Red (Swoon) because it has depths to engulf the human heart and drown it in pleasure. It is a deep lustrous red that looks like it's more draped over than painted on. Bugger, I'm wondering now whether I covet the hue rather than the car. Actually this is good because it's commonly known that inviting car obsessives to dinner is a waste of time as they have no conversation. I can at least be certain about one thing, I do not covet my neighbour's wife but only because the house next door has been empty for some time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The B of the bang...

is an enormous steel sculpture in East Manchester. It takes the form of huge metal spikes hundreds of feet high arranged like the explosion of a firework rocket. It is impressive. If I knew how to put photo's into this blog one would be posted here...............

............ But I don't, so it's not.

Anyone interested can go to Manchester City's website (the town not the football club, even though incidentally the sculpture is situated next to Man City's ground) and see a picture of said art...

Having left my job in Stockport and moved to work in Manchester I now drive each day past 'The B of the Bang'. Great sculpture but totally naff name. Unlike my favourite piece of public art 'The Angel of the North' located at the south end of Team Valley on the outskirts of Gateshead which is the southern half of God's own town, Newcastle on Tyne. The 'Angel of the North' is a magnificent structure, not sure of the dimensions but it's probably 200 feet tall and the wingspan approx 200 feet from end to end. Towering over the eastern shoulder of Team Valley just where the motorway plunges down to the valley floor before curving into Newcastle, the 'Angel of the North' faces south toward the cathedral city of Durham. A stunning location for a stunning sculpture.

I am a refugee from the north and have learned to love Manchester. However the 'B of the Bang' should be dignified with a better name. It could have been called simply Top Art, because that is what it is. And democratic art because everyone has an opinion about it. Fantastic design, and in public too.

Speaking of design, which is what I really want to talk about, I'm vexed by my inability to post photo's or even develop a pleasing background for this blog. My mate Clare, aka Boob Pencil has a wonderfully laid out blog, lovely colours (well blue mainly) and full of neat boxes, sort of tidy. Plus she has the skill to insert links into her prose.

As I stand in the shadow of great art then so I also stand in the shadow of a well crafted blog.

What is a boy to do?

Monday, March 28, 2005

I saw a tv advert...

for a kid's film today. It carried the logo 'Mild Peril', I presume as some kind of warning. 'Mild' and 'Peril', not two words generally found together in the same sentence. And then it came to me, bugger, I bet some scummy corporate lawyer thought of that. Currying favour with his bosses, covering all the litigate bases, earning his fucking inflated fee. 'Mild Peril', it's not even hyperbole. Grrrrrr.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Last night...

my friends Sean and Jo arrived as we were to meet other mates in a Nepalese restaurant later. They were returning from a walk in Lyme Park, a large country estate famous for the scene in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' where shirt soaked and hair astraggle Darcy rises from the lake. Sean gave me a present of venison they'd bought in the National Trust shop as a wee gift, disappointingly the meat wasn't from a deer chosen by them. For one moment I embrace the forlorn hope that maybe they'd been invited onto a nearby hill to point out a beast of their choice and then followed the crack of a rifle shot that echoed over the rich dark earth of a valley verdant with spring growth. In scattered flocks birds leap skyward and with wild panic the heaving groaning pushing herd stampede until the thunderous sound of pounding hooves fade into the distance and evening quiet returns once more. But no.

Still, if it's good enough for lobsters...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Every Thursday morning on...

Radio 4 between 9 and 9:45 there is a discussion chaired by Melvin Bragg. The programme is called 'In Our Time'. This week it was about angels and how their purpose and image changed in relation to changes in the material world. Prior to the Babylonians angels were generally portrayed as ordinary folk set apart only by the message from God they carried. The old Babylonians who captured the early monothiests, i.e. those who believed in a single deity (do keep up at the back there!) had lots of walls and stuff adorned with winged beings. It seems that the early monotheists were mucho impressed with this and so the modern angel, he of the big wings and broad chest was born. To cut a long story short questions of angels (who they were; how they moved from the supernatural to the natural; how long they had been around; if they weren't gods themselves what if fact were they, etc) might also be questions about the real world and how it worked. The material world and its developments threw up issues that required solutions and some of those solutions could be addressed through the discussion of angels. For instance, if angels come from somewhere other than here can that place be knowable too? What appears as a theological question therefore, can also be an enquiry into the very nature of the universe itself. In a world without microscopes or telescopes you're a bit of a clever bugger if you're surmising the existence of a materiality that you can't see with your own eyes. Questions about heaven therefore can also be questions about earth. Phew. And I thought it was all about what you could do on the head of a pin.

The other advantage of this series is the programmes last for approx 45 mins which is just the right time for a day's rowing on my lovely machine. BBC online also means I can listen anytime, ah that technology thing again. Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My mate Beth...

has split with her boyfriend. Had her round for dinner on Saturday night where she unfolded a tale of woe. This week she's snow boarding in France. Oh that we should all be so heartbroken. I am very jealous, especially as last time I split from someone I was crushed to the size of a small weevil.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Yesterday I was talking...

to someone about blogs and they were really sniffy. What, an online diary? Why would anyone in their right mind wish to do such a thing? Upper lip curled in sneer. Gaze skiing down aquiline nose trailing parallel lines of contempt.

It's fairly straightforward I said, personally I write a blog for whimsical reasons ocassionally political reasons and sometimes just because I can. I likened blogging to a message in a bottle which is then cast into the ether. As this explanation gathered pace my utilitarian cohort even more began to resemble Count Olaf, he of the high forehead and all seeing eye. Or perhaps it was Thomas Gradgrind from Dickens' Hard Times, a man to whom the only thing that mattered was the facts. No amount of lyricism could persuade her that blogging was a useful activity, no flights of fancy.

Miserable get. On dark nights I've noticed more than once the street lights dim as she passes. Hardly surprising.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The hinge fell off my front gate...

and if I was at all religious I might read that as a sign or portent. But I'm not, therefore I know its rusty knackeredness is the result of something that has happened rather than of something that will happen. We should all be grateful that history is ordered this way otherwise things might break first and then where would I be? Probably trapped under my front gate or under a pile of wood that was not my front gate first. Thank you athiesm, the friend of DIY.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Below the edge...

at Alderley Edge which is a place in the country south of Manchester there's the face of a wizard carved into a rock. Under the wizard's face are chiseled the words "Drink from this well and take thy fill for the water falls by the Wizard's will". Beneath this legend is a stone trough brimming with disgusting water that only a fool would drink. I know very little about geology but it has a track record in providing explanations for the appearance of water that witchcraft really does lack. Also judging by the state of said water the 'wizard's will' seems a pretty ropey affair as he demonstrably failed to factor in, when casting his spell, the small matter of public health. I'm tempted to return with a new legend along the lines of "If you believe this garbage and are tempted to drink thy fill don't come crying to me when you die of gut rot." And along the base of the trough in words that could only be read by someone who had collapsed would be written, "You truly are a bit of a knob. Are you from around here?"

Harsh but fair, I think.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Was texted today...

by my mother from St Peter's Square in Rome. She texted me to say how hot it was and then broke off. The next message said she had just been blessed, though I suspect as part of an enormous crowd rather than on a personal level. The pope believes in bulk.

Modern technology never fails to impress me. I mean my 75 year old mother txts me from the Vatican City and I receive the message almost immediately any delay being caused not by technology but a blessing. Wondrous technology is also used to persuade us that the old shit John Paul is not dead and turning whiffy. I texted mam observing that in such a large crowd the pope can be easily identified as he'd be the main one drooling. With all that saliva I bet they're careful he doesn't short circuit. Or maybe he does, a controlled dribble might just fire those arm muscles sufficiently to produce an approximation of a wave. He waves, he's not dead, QED.

They'll be telling us next that Elvis has passed on.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Don Giovanni was showing...

at the Lowry Theatre in Salford last night in a production by Opera North. I wasn't all that impressed, the singing was fine except for the lead who seemed to have little character. Not good when your supposed to be playing a grade 'A' lothario. The whole thing was a bit lacklustre.

We went for a pizza beforehand and the menu was pretty so so except for the references to 'torn chicken'. Torn chicken! What the fuck is that? I nearly missed ordering a pepperoni special by becoming locked into an obsessive hunt for other stupid descriptions, I also hate food that's been 'drizzled'. I think there's some crossover between estate agents and chefs where each develop ever more ludicrous ways of describing stuff that's really, and I mean really, basic. For instance when a house is advertised as 'of special interest to those who like DIY' you know the building has most probably been condemned and its current use is as a play ground for children who are strangely attracted to fire. Similarly with menus, what's advertised may not necessarily have any real link to what you actually get. I mean what exactly is a Whimsy of Brushed Ox? Or for that matter a Chinook of Flaked Moulle? Or stuff that's been 'shaved'? And in the starters whatever happened to the word 'soup'? A bold word, a word that once declared itself as honest and moral and true. Soup used to be worthy and uplifting, soup used to be broth. God, I can't even type the word broth without feeling cleansed. Soup though seems to have lost favour in restaurants, it has become other things, now it can be a tureen or a tranquility. Just below the headline consomme (which is an okay word cos it's French and classy by definition) can be listed such things as a Lutheran of Pricked Barley, or Leeks with Braised Mummer served on a delightful concatenation of agar and diesel.

They wish us to believe that restaurant food has not been cooked so much as wept over then shipped to the table on a river of tears. Oh yeah!