Thursday, October 13, 2005

me not blog

Well, there you go, the title says pretty much all you need to know.

I can't really be arsed to keep this thing up anymore, not that I've really been doing much of that anyway.

I thought when I started this that I might be able to make some kind of interesting comment about my life and views; despite the fact that my life is only about as interesting as the lifestyle of a lazy english student can be and I'm so malleable that my views aren't stable for long enough for me to ever write them down.

I was wrong in that regard though; my attempts at profundity ended up sounding glib and facetious; my attempts to be funny fell flat and after a while this thing just degenerated into a glorified pinboard for me to put links and mundane information for people that I'd missed when they were online.

From now on I'm just going to restrict my humour to the usual array of cock jokes and tastless witticisms, and my attempts at saying something important or profound to drunken monologues and, perhaps, when I need to add a few hundred words to an essay.

Why am I even writing this here, I could say this to my readership - one person - when I talk to her, in one sentance. Meh, I suppose this is just another attempt at gravitas or something, it certainly isn't funny.


Thursday, September 22, 2005


Look at this

It makes me think of the idea that there are things that just want to be made, and people have been trying to realise them with the technology they have available, like the helicopter.

It's strange how coincidences like this appear from time to time, although it's not as weird as a group of film makers in America inventing a name (Napoleon Dynamite) that, unkown to them, had been used as a pseudonym by elvis costello on a couple of really obscure tracks in the late 70's.

anyway, I'm off to canterbury tomorrow morning so I'll not be posting on this for a while, unless I can be bothered to go up to the library and fight off the freshers for a space in front of a computer.


Sunday, September 18, 2005


I was looking at a computer catalogue today (it fell out of a newspaper and I couldn't find anything else to read*) and I was marveling at how cheap computers are getting now, my dad explained the reasons for it but I can't remember what exactly they were, something about 'the hardware ceiling' and the arrival of cheap, imported cakes. However on the net I have found a much better looking alternative to the grey boxes.

I'll get one, one day, and it can go with the elaborately carved speaker cabinets I'll have for my bass amp** in my evil lair. Alas though, these are just idle dreams, I really need to get an evil internship or something if I'm ever going to make it as evil genius and I just don't have the time.


*After I'd read the paper obviously, I don't just throw that away and keep the dropouts.

**Also elaborately carved. With a mini fridge in it.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I think that soon there will only be one Uber corporation left in America


Friday, September 16, 2005


I was reading this article today and thinking how I've had to learn so much American pop culture and language over the years in order to understand films and TV. I suppose it's because Americans have all the money,* but you never hear of things being changed for UK release because the American wording wouldn't make sense to us. I think here they assume that we'll just guess at what it means and leave it in. American publishers and film distributors seem to have a staggeringly low opinion of the American public; things like The Madness of King George III being renamed just 'Madness of King George' because they thought people would wonder why they hadn't heard of the first two episodes**. They seem perfectly willing to release a film like Memento or LA Confidential, confident that people will be able to keep up with their twisty turny narratives, but they don't trust the same people to be able to figure out that this is a squash preferring, bafflingly, to call it a melon.

It's especially baffling seeing as it's a very English film, and you can't grow melons here. But hey, we are a small nation film revenue wise, although if they were only interested in the big markets then they'd do well to shoot their films in Hindi as well and put in elaborate musical numbers.


*When it comes to film making and distribution, I don't want to get into the broader argument again.

**There are much better examples than this but I can't be bothered to find any, sorry.


I think that with the fact that Eddie has gone back to Plymouth, my imminent return to UKC and the bloody awful weather, the summer can be said to be officially over now.

I've been wondering what exactly I've done this summer, how does it compare to other summers?

As for how it compares to other summers I really couldn't say, it's hard to give a Fun-rating.

it's not been a huge amount of fun for fairly obvious reasons, well, obvious to the only person who reads this and that's good enough for me to not bother to explain what I mean.

sorry, bit of a fatman emo moment.

I've been lurking with the same group of friends that I've been kicking around with since I was 16 and, on the whole, I'd be happy to spend another couple of years hanging around with them. They are still froody and even those that seem to have spent their time at uni exaggerating their existing foibles are still entertaining enough.

I didn't go to the reading festival this year, which is a shame, but I did see the queens of the stone age, which ruled (although I still owe pat big time for those tickets). Bizarrely I appear to have managed to pick up a few reading-isms this year despite not actually going, yay for getting drunk with festie veterans.

I've had no great personal revelation, no James Joyce style epiphany has struck me and made everything clearer. I doubt one ever will, I think that in reality people have to spend their time permanently slightly confused and unsure; never getting that great moment of clarity that they'd like, it certainly seems to be how things are going with me. No emotional music has played at any point, the soundtrack to this summer has mostly been leaning more towards the heavy side of things, and always upbeat, occasionally dangerously so.

I went to the cottage and that was ace, but it wasn't the 5 day depravity and badminton binge that it used to be. What it has become though was also fun, although not the same sort of fun as perhaps the newcomers had been led to expect.

I've put on quite a bit of weight, which is a bad thing, however I've managed to grow a beard that is visible to the naked eye, which is a good thing (at least I think so)... Perhaps the beard is contributing to the weight gain... I think I've got uglier but my self image has got prettier so I'm not afraid of mirrors anymore.

I've not really got any better on the bass, and the condition of my instrument is decreasing worryingly; I've done well to hold it together for so long. I think with the help of some people who know more than me I'll be able to keep the old gal going at least until next summer. But I can now play the guitar to a reasonable extent, well, I can play chords and have advanced song wise from the usual pop punk stuff.

The fact that Eddie barely seems to play geetar anymore is quite distressing though, I hope he's not going to give up on it all and become a square.

Seems pretty unlikely though.

I've not gone mad and beaten anyone up, although I did come fairly close to braining john at the cottage. But I do still swear at SUVs and off roaders in cities though, so I've not reached zen style inner peace yet. Just today in fact I was waiting outside Issie's school and marveling at the fact that the fat women (they always are)in huge off roaders always put 'child on board' signs in their back windows. Presumably afraid of their child getting injured when they run over one of those notoriously solid-and-dangerous-to-vehicles small children while driving around the narrow streets outside the school in their amoured personnel carriers.

meh. I digress, although I suppose you can't digress if you didn't actually have anything to say in the first place.

I think I've run out of things to say now. Well that's not exactly true, it's more a case of me getting bored with writing and needing to try and comfort issie who is all upset about the whole no-Eddie thingy. I'm not very good at comforting, I'll probably just provoke her into attacking me, that always cheers her up.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

I Have Returned

It's strange trying to describe a week of your life in a reasonably small number of words. The cottage was fun, it always is; but, as with every trip to the cottage, it's hard to put into words why or how. I've had a great time this last week, but pinning down specific incidents is hard, it's like whole week of 'you'd have to be there' I could tell stories but they'd lack the humour and the excitement that they had at the time.

Take, for example, the language of the cottage; generally at the cottage we devolop our own strange slang, it's generally various phrases used by the group that get taken up by everyone. They are funny to us and using them again becomes a kind of in-joke, reminding us of the time we spent getting drunk miles from anyone. This year's key phrases were:

"in the Face!" - based on Colin's belief that everything sounds more painful if followed by the phrase 'in the face!' (for example 'you have cancer... in the face!').

"sexy" this was used as an adjective to describe just about everything from food to women to a good game of frisbee.

"shut up... You're a twat, aaaah, you're shit" shouted in unison when someone said something that was a bit thick, or just if people were bored, getting drunk and shouting it at foxes was a good example.

There were others but I think that is sufficient to show you that in order to understand the cottage it helps if you are there. Obviously that isn't really possible for most people I know. This means that generally cottage anecdotes fall pretty flat.

I'm sure I'll tell stories but putting them here seems like recording it somehow, which is rather against the spirit of things, what happens at the cottage isn't really for the recording. I'm sure it wouldn't be half as fun if people thought that their actions would become public knowledge.

naked chef, hornet fighting, sausage surprise... They shall all stay within the group, only to be revealed in the occasional drunken anecdote.

Now I've got to try and fight off the post-cottage downer


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Cottage

Well I'm nearly packed now, and I'm going to be off soon.

I'll be offline for a while so I'll talk to you in a week, unless I'm eaten by bears or killed by the psycho hose beast* but that seems fairly unlikely.

Go and be as sociable as The Man will allow you to be until october, I insist.



*See Wayne's World

Friday, August 26, 2005


In the UK about this time of year the press are grabbed by an exremely boring form of madness. The combination of parliament having been on recess for a few months and all the papers tiring of the usual celebrity holiday photos has unfortunate consequences. That's right, it's results time. A time when mad professors and pushy parents unveil their 9 year-old freaks who've already got an A in GCSE canoeing or whatever, when retired school inspectors with delusions of grandeur make statements about how "it's not as good as when I was in charge" and when politicians who think they have some understanding of education ooze out of the woodwork and start spouting their political agendas over the achievements of people younger and prettier than them.

The papers lap it up though, the steady stream of people dying which has sustained them up to this point appears to have dried up, so now they've got nothing else to do but glue their own interpretation onto the results, pressing whatever agenda they feel the need to press.

I'm sure I've ranted about this on more occasions than I can remember so I'm sorry if I'm being boring, but when some paper takes up the story that a 9 year old has passed GCSE IT* as conclusive proof that the exams are too easy I need to get ranty. Sorry to break the parents' bubble, but the child is weird and probably borderline autistic. What this shows is that with a great deal of effort a single exam can be passed, this doesn't mean that the system is easy, from when I was 15 to when I was 18 I took 52 (That took a while to figure out) proper hardcore exams and nearly went mad on a number of occasions. On their own they might be something an exceptional 9 year old can do, but they hunt in packs and most of us don't get the expensive tutoring and pushy parents (which is a blessing in my opinion).

I know that the system needs changing (roll on the Baccalaureate) but now isn't the time ot discuss it in public, for now just let the 16 year olds drink themselves unconscious and let the 9 year old wonder what use this GCSE is to him...


I don't really know why I wrote all that.

It's not like it's something I've not said before, in fact I have a vague suspicion that I've written something almost exactly like this on this blog before.

Oh well, it passes the time and distracts me from doing the washing up even if I do sound like a whiny teenager.


*Although considering I failed IT completely I can't really talk. but hey. I didn't fail, I got an X.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Getting Jaded

I've been thinking about the differences between people in the US and people in the UK. I don't mean the political differences, the broader social context or anything like that - that's been written about plenty by every person who thinks that meeting one or two foreigners makes them knowledgeable about the politics and social mores of every country in the world. I don't have the knowledge or the patience to write about that, instead I can just ramble incoherently about what I've observed myself.

The key thing I've noticed is the fact that 'extrovert' and 'arsehole' are not always synonymous in america. Sitting around with my friends from here, getting drunk and chatting away I've noticed that those who talk loudest are always those with the least to say*. With the americans (Again, not making grand generalizations here, although it may sound like that. I'm just writing about those I know - I'm sure there are millions of boring loudmouths in america) there were people who were loud but funny and interesting - I mean funny in a non abusive way and interesting in a non car-crash sense of the word. This principle is especially evident when talking about politics; the people who shout slogans and commit themselves loudly to one cause or another are generally those who fail to understand just how transitory and complicated it all is**. When politics comes up with the group as a whole, especially when drink has been taken, it's generally someone reciting the reactionary, bigoted bollocks they read in the sun and someone else shouting slogans they heard in Rage Against the Machine songs. While this is going on the people who actually read the news and have some concept of the boundaries between editorial & reportage (and read papers that know them as well) exchange embarrassed glances over their pints and occasionally try and correct the worst of the ill-informed ranting.

I think it's a culture of modesty; generally the people who have things to say don't want to make the people who don't feel stupid, while the people who don't want to prove to everyone that they do.

And the best way they can think of is to say it very loudly.

but that's enough ranting for one afternoon.


*I harvested that from something I wrote last night talking to Sarah, I don't like to waste such rare moments of eloquence, even if it does sound like something a goth would write on his bag in biro.

**Mitch Clem puts this very well in relation to music, the blog is below the comic. (That isn't what it normally looks like)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


This made me smile.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Humour is definately the best way of making political points, it's a shame I can't do it really.


If you need to do some serious godbotherer annoyance though I suggest this.

Or This.

Or This

Wow I'm just in hardcore heretic mode today aren't I...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Gig

Oh man,

Best. Gig. Ever.

It's hard to write about the gig, I think I spent most of it in a kind of trance; mesmirised by the rockin' and it's hard to put that kind of thing into words.

We met up with pat and some of his friends from uni and headed to the nearest pub for some drinks and munchies. I wasn't drinking as I still have The Fear from the other night's activities but the food and many caffinated beverages were consumed.

After we'd eaten we started towards victoria underground station, warily though as one of the groups was a medium strength claustrophobic and the tube isn't fun if you are that way inclined. When we got to the ticket barriers though we all decided that the tube was not a sexy idea, the guards weren't letting anyone on the platform, we looked up at the CCTV monitor they have above the barriers and looked at our watches and realised: It was 6pm, on a weekday, on the victoria line. The platform was crammed moshpit-deep all the way to the edge with angry commuters. So we decided that the bus was a better option.

On the bus we passed stockwell tube station, with all the boards up around it with appeals for witnesses of the Jean Charles de Menezes thing, they were IPCC (independent Police complaints comission) boards which is reasonably encouraging, at least it's being investigated by someone other than the met, who seem pretty unrepentant. I felt momentarily scared when an elderly muslim man came on carrying a big briefcase and then spent about ten minutes mentally kicking myself for being an over suspicious thicky.

When we got to Brixton we relocated to a respectable looking pub and more drinks (and caffinated beverages) were consumed. I think I should explain that Brixton was where all the Caribbean immigrants settled in the early 50's so we were sitting around feeling very white and very young, in a pub with Skatalites and Price Buster posters on the walls, while lots of venerable looking, elderly Jamaicans argued with the occasional tramp that wondered in.

We went off to the gig and upon entrance were given a bag with SIGNED 7" VINYL inside. Steaming with glee we went into the arena. After a while of arsing around listening to the DJ (no support band) we started to get bored (that was when I was randomly texting people, including a really smarmy one to Bal about the signed vinyl; I couldn't resist).

Then they came on

They rocked.

I spent the whole time banging of head and jumping of around.

After it was over I realised a) I was completely soaked in sweat and b) I was practically deaf, everything sounded like it was coming through a thick wall. It's strange day when you get on the underground and think "mmm, fresh air". We got stuck on a train for ten minutes with one of the most talkative and boring men I've ever had the misfortune to meet. We missed the last train to Eltham and ended up going to Mottingham (about 40 minutes walk away) and stumbling back gasping for a drink and a record player.

Oh joy, to get home and discover that the 7" is a recording of "The Funmachine Took a Shit and Died" - the track that was supposed to be on Lullabies to Paralyse but the master tapes got lost. They rerecorded it especially to be handed out and this gig.

Collectors-Item-me-do, daddy-o

Oh man.

I ache, although I have had a shower and washed my hair.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

What Have I Done Today?

It's a question I find myself pondering every evening now, tallying up the achievements of the day. I'm not sure why I bother, it's not like I've written down some kind of list of what I should do everyday that I can check things against. Although perhaps I should, I probably need to get some kind of structure, but bugger that; it's too much structure for me. Getting up after I stop sleeping and going to bed before I start is about as organised as I can get.

Asking myself what I've managed to do today I scored reasonably well; although I don't have a list of things to do, I do nevertheless have a mental list of sorts. I left the house twice, I didn't spend any money on shiny things or magic beans, (important if you're on a budget) and I had a reasonably constructive writing session. I didn't save the world, write a number one record or have some great personal epiphany but I did shave and get my hair cut.

Worryingly I'm now a regular at my local hair slicy place. I suppose it's hardly surprising that he knows me after I've been getting my hair cut there for about 7 years but, considering I'm about as talkative as a tree stump, it's an achiement on his part. The good thing is that it means that I don't have to explain my hairstyle (I don't have one, want one or care) which is always an irritating experience.

Wow, my life is tedious. I can't think of anything to alleviate the boredom just yet. Although I'm going to see the Queens of the Stone age and Eddie is getting back on sunday which should improve the level of conversation from me talking to myself and giggling.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Queens of the Stone Age

Me, Eddie and Pat are going to see QOTSA!

At the Brixton Academy on the 22nd of august.

Mr Ben is soiling himself with delight.


I think I need to go and lie down.

I think this strip sums up the dangers of a good gig.


Thursday, August 11, 2005


Often, in my weaker (or perhaps stronger) moments - like when I'm eyeball-deep in dusty books about some mind-numbingly pointless area of literary study - I ponder why on earth I'm doing what I'm doing at university.

I mean, surely I could be doing something more useful or productive with myself?

Generally after a few seconds of confusion my brain neatly retaliates with

"No Ben, this is what you like doing, despite your occasional denials and, ultimately, it's the only thing you are really capable of doing."

Because, lets face it, I'm not really much of a do-er. My attempts at original writing have been, at best, pretty average and my middle class fear of insecurity will probably prevent me from ever making any kind of mark musically (That and my general lack of ability). However, rambling about the achievements of others in long incoherent essays is something I'm suited to perfectly - whether it's about literature at university or music on this blog (or at anyone who can't run away in time) - I generally enjoy myself in a reserved, quiet sort of way. Despite this I'm still occasionally bothered by a suspicion that I'm not really doing what I want to do, but taking the path of least resistance through life, not bothering to do anything else because it would require more effort than I can be arsed to muster.

Therefore it was interesting to learn tonight that some of the people around me are not going for the standard route; one of my friends has decided not to bother going to university, instead choosing to continue his career as a tennis coach, which is a more interesting and profitable way for him to spend his time than doing three years at uni for a qualification that wouldn't really do him much good anyway. Another one of my friends has decided to drop out of her course in Manchester because she doesn't like it. Not only that, but she's decided that she doesn't like the entire direction of her studies and qualifications from the age of 17 onwards and is going to take two years to start over.

I know that, even being completely honest with myself, I do genuinely enjoy what I do academically, depressing though that fact is, in its way. But I'd like to think that I've have the resolve to do what she's done if I felt I needed to. I doubt I would though. The best I can do is write a meandering piece of rubbish about her decision, that no one will read, and wish her good luck.


Friday, August 05, 2005

It's late and I'm tired

I've been thinking about music a lot recently, as you can probably tell from the increasing incoherence and length of these entries. I say thinking, it's not really thinking more just listening. I suspect that trying to explain what you like or dislike about music is like trying to push a river up a hill. Like art it has many technical rules of composition and effect that provide order in the chaos. However to the uninitiated, like myself, music is still chaos. Just very beautiful chaos.

I don't have the eloquence to explain what is so good about one song or other without resorting to all sorts of bizarre descriptions that only make sense to me and my peculiar musical synaesthesia. I could tell you about how the guitar in 'The Sky is Falling' * feels all rough and tastes like peanuts or how the electric piano sound from 'Mary' ** looks dark purple. However this information wouldn't really tell you anything about the music I'm trying to describe or how it makes me feel. It would only make you question the wiring of my brain.

The inability to express why some music is good and some isn't is a cause of all sorts of horrors, from the aforementioned cool fights to arguments between friends over bands that one loves and the other thinks is crap. I can't explain why I don't like coldplay, it just feels smooth, sort of shiny but in a polished way. This isn't a very good reason to give to someone who idolises them and often results in slapping. I think much of the idea of musical identity is people giving themselves a justification, a reason to dislike huge swathes of music without having to ask themselves why. A man who only listens to metal, wears nothing but black and has hair down to his armpits doesn't have to sit there and wonder why he likes Justin Timberlake's new single, he just doesn't listen to it.

I think everyone blinkers their musical outlook to an extent. I, for example, am incapable of liking country music, commercial hip-hop, Free Jazz and the more extreme forms of Prog-Rock (I don't count deathmetal as music - in the same way that I don't count chainsaws as music). I don't know exactly why I don't like this music but by avoiding it altogether it makes my life a great deal simpler.

All this said though, what I know of technical musical theory could fit on the back of a fag packet and I couldn't point out melody in a police lineup. I listen to music that most people wouldn't consider to be particularly tuneful (I'm currently listening to McLusky Do Dallas) And I've got a history of hating music just because of genre. However I think there is always something there in the music I like, some energy, linguistic invention, even just a dirty sense of humour.

I suppose Cannibal Corpse fans would argue the same.


If they could string a sentence together that is.

I wonder if a bunch of socially inadequate spotty metalheads will start gibbering in my comments box.

I hope not.


* Queens of the Stone Age. Songs For the Deaf Track 5. Interscope 2002

** Supergrass. Supergrass is 10 Track 12. Parlophone 2004

They Sing in Their Own Accents

Today I was writing something about regional accents in rock here, and how annoying the idea of it being cooler to sing in your own accent than in some other accent is. The problem that I hit is the same one I usually hit when I'm trying to write anything; whether it's an essay about the various possible interpretations of 'Ode to Nightingale' or a blog entry. I never actually bother to think through my argument before I start. I try and write on the fly, go with the stream of conciousness and write down ideas as they lead on from one another. The thing is, if you haven't explored the subject that you are about to begin rambling about very well, you can end up writing around and around until you defeat the argument you started with. This often causes the tragic realisation that the premise you began with was ultimately pretty unsound and badly thought through. I had that today writing about the whole regional accent thing. I started a little something like this:

I was listening to the Beatles today - as you do - and I was thinking about something that I remember George Galloway saying at Glastonbury this year, when he was asked what bands he was going to see. He replied something about going to see a band that were singing in their own accents rather than pretending to be american. He was talking about Maximo Park (I think) but it's a phrase that gets repeated over and over again by cultural commentators and music buffs. They see the regional accent like some badge of credibility; they talk about the uniformity of most singers, how all the bands on the radio sound the same. I don't understand what difference the accent sung in is supposed to make to the credibility of the music.

It's starts OK, in a bad sort of way. I'm rambling about music again but this time I've put it in some kind of context in relation to my own life. I've also made a statement, singing in a regional accent makes you no cooler than the next man. The problems struck, however, when I tried to explain why this was so.

Unless you've been singing since before you could talk and hadn't heard anyone else sing, your singing voice will be something that you've decided on; whether it's 'I want to sound like Robert Plant', 'I want to sound like I'm 50 and I've been smoking Malboro Extra-Chunky since I was five' or 'I want to sing in a northern accent'. I think the reason that singing in a regional accent is considered better than singing like Little Richard or whoever is the idea that it is original, that these people are doing something no one has ever done bef

It was at this stage that I realised that the point I was making was not, in fact a particularly good one. I should have instead pondered why this is such a big thing, why people from the UK assume that all Americans sing in the same accent just because they can't tell the difference between Wisconsin and Florida and how this is a bit of evidence that George Galloway's America bashing is a rather deeper hatred than mere political anger. Instead I was trying to say that singing in your own regional accent is no more original (and, by extension, cool) than copying the singing voice of someone else. This is a fairly thick thing to say really.

I realised that the germ of this idea, explaining the opening line about the Beatles, was from listening to Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and thinking about how Paul McCartney used to sing in a regional accent and that it's nothing new.

That, I see now, meant that all I was doing was not some profound social statement about traces of nationalism and cultural identity in rock music but the standard music nerd game of 'Be into a much older band that you can claim did everything better and first'. A game which, as my friends will know, is one I play well, occasionally even on unarmed civilians; a technique banned for all purposes exept impressing 'the ladies' (this doesn't work - but it least it prevents more nerdspawn).

'Cool Fights' such as this become less common as you get older but are a major source of conflict among smug little indie teenagers at parties. What happens is someone says a band, someone names an older band who influenced them and basically it's whoever says the last band wins.

It is a game of great tactics. You can't usually involve youself in a game more than once (i.e you can't say a band, have it out-knowleged and then out-knowledge the other persons band - you'd look thick) but at the same time you don't want to use a trump card willy nilly as then everybody knows it and your mystique is broken. For example; if someone says 'Eric Clapton' then the trump card is obviously (although this can be contested ad infinitum) 'Blind Lemon' Jefferson. However the the next guy (yes, it is always guys), in accordance with the rules, will say someone like John Lee Hooker, B B King or, if being played amongst professional nerds, Leadbelly.

Bonus points are awarded if someone asks who they are talking about (especially if it's a pretty girl - although this only happens in the indie kid's fantasies) and the person can actually explain. Bonus points are also given to the guy who says the 'old Favourite' (one that in most games is the winner) for example in the Eric Clapton battle this one is, of course, Rob Johnson - Most players will only consider going for the trump card after the old favourite has been played, although only after assuming a sufficiently knowing and superior air.

Now this game, as anyone who has been stuck in a room with a pair of battling nerds will tell you, is a very tedious thing to put into writing (although I'm sure that plenty of people do) So I decided to stop.

And so I ended up here, rambling aimlessly about nothing in particular, having made no real point at all and wasted a lot of my time.

oh well. it's better than touching myself.

One day I might think of something interesting to say here, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.


Sunday, July 31, 2005


You know, up until this morning I had never sneezed vomit.

Isn't beer great?

Actually no, I really should stop I feel rather fragile today

Thursday, July 28, 2005


The last few days I've been doing various things; writing, reading, playing games, even lowering myself to the depths of prolonged solitare binges. While doing all these things I've been, of course, listening to music. I usually have some music playing when I'm doing just about everything, even essay writing and sleeping. The misapprehension that most people seem to have is that it is background, that I just have it there because I don't like silence.

To an extent this is true, my ears do a strange thing when there is no noise that I can best describe in terms that might miss most people. It's like turning up the gain on a amplifier with no signal going through it - it starts as silence but ends up amplifying noise, if I just listen to silence for more than a few seconds I get the strange sensation of a sound that isn't really sound that rises to a deafening pitch but at the same time isn't actually louder than any of the minute sounds around me. However, that doesn't bother me, it goes away if I make a noise, which is why I make all sorts of strange noises when I'm on my own - see I'm not mad. Although that said reading back through this it does sound more than slightly peculiar.

But anyway, music for me isn't always the background; in fact quite often it is exactly the opposite. There are many people who have sat around talking to me with some music playing in the background not realizing that in my head things are the other way round. All of the various activities that I described above as ways of passing the time have, in fact, just been things to keep certain parts of my mind occupied while the rest of it is diggin' the sounds. Absorbed though I get I can't just sit and listen to a piece of music, I get bored, my hands and the bits of my brain that aren't involved in the music need something to do. If they don't they tend to disturb the other bits of my brain like someone playing trance music in an exam.

The best place to listen to music, I find, is when out walking or in a car, the constant stream of things that pass you allow you to absorb yourself completely in the music. All of the times that I've been really affected by music have been when I'm traveling somewhere; it was on the walk home that 'Castles Made of Sand' by Jimi Hendrix made me cry or when I got so into the album 'Beautiful Freak' by the Eels that I ended up walking around my neighborhood listening to it for hours rather than go home.

In reality what I've been doing for the last few days is trying to get all there is to get from various CDs. I heard sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts club band for the first time and liked it. I got completely sucked in by the images that Creedance Clearwater Revival and the Queens of the Stone Age stuck in my head. I jumped around like a mad hoon to the Mad Caddies and King Prawn. I read the entirety of a Terry Pratchett book while listening to Ben Harper and Skip James and can honestly say that although I was turning the pages and, in theory at least, reading the book I can't remember anything about it now.

This whole little article has, in fact been an excuse to stay up and listen to Bloc Party's new album so don't be surprised if this didn't make any sense, I'm not really paying any attention.

Bloc Party are Damn good though.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Old Money

I'm trying not to talk about my life at the moment because there is nothing at all happening there. I have reached unseen new heights of boredom, the like of which have previously only been glimpsed by people in comas. The mistake I've been making with all this is that I've been explaining and documenting this boredom here, an act which itself just causes more. As I said before this was intended to be interesting but has become a place where I leave messages about my day for people that I've missed more than anything else. I think from now on I'm going to try and put that sort of thing in Emails, most of it is pretty private anyway.

I'm not saying that this will get any less tedious but it'll probably be a different flavour of boring; pretentious, self-righteous, editorialising boring rather than the minutiae of the dull life of some middle class wastrel.

I'm not sure what that leaves me to talk about really; normally it would be politics but at the moment I'm trying to avoid all that. The news is getting really repetitive. All this stuff about the bombings, the people who did the bombings, the people who might have influenced the people who did the bombings - it's all getting pretty monotonous, it's mostly conjecture too; most of the events reported are in the realm of spooks and police investigators, neither of which are exactly known for being particularly candid. This all means that the news is mostly misapprehensions and speculation - informed or otherwise - something that is solid fact one hour can be proven to be false by the next bulletin. The poor Brazilian guy who was shot dead on the tube the other day is a good example: The reports originally said that the police had shot one of the bombers during another attempted bombing. 'Woo' think the people, evildoers foiled. But no. As the hours and days pass I've watched, between the gaps in the fingers held in front of my eyes, as this valiant defence of feedom - or life or toast or whatever it is that people hold dear - turns into a cold blooded execution of an unarmed, innocent man; whose only crime was to not have a British passport and to run away from a bunch of ununiformed blokes with guns. I'm going to leave this all for a while, sample what it's like being Howie, and try not paying any attention to current affairs, or at least the ones that concern this.

I'm not saying that I don't want to know how the story ends, I'll come back to this whole sorry situation in a few weeks, when the press actually have some idea what has happened, who did it and why. I suppose this is me just wanting a happy ending, wussing out and wanting to see the resolution without the waiting and the setbacks that all others must endure. Well, screw that, all this has affected me far more than I expected it to and more than anything like this has before. I think I'd rather just go back to being traumatised or delighted by the events of my personal life. This whole dirty affair makes me really depressed.

Ok. I appear to have managed to write a great deal about politics for someone who is avoiding it. I suppose avoiding it is a political act of its own. Sort of. Albeit a pretty passive and lazy one.


The reason that is called 'old money' is because I was going to write something else but couldn't be arsed. It's too late and I'm too stupified with boredom to think of a title so you can think of your own - pick one that makes you happy.

I'm off to bed.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"You can't not be able to get a job" Discuss

A recent outburst of Danny's at a party did rather get on my nerves; I know a lot of things that Danny says get on my nerves but this one was especially irritating. I've tried, but I got bupkiss. I was rejected by every branch of every temping agency within a couple of hours of my house. I was turned down by two supermarkets. My previous employer said that it would be "not cost effective" to employ me over some spotty 16 year old. After all that I have now reached the stage where I couldn't get a job anyway because after the application, interview and training I couldn't work there for more than about 3 weeks.

Therefore I have definitively and completely given up on trying to get a job. I said I would before but a final trip to my local job centres - which yielded no more temporary employment opportunities than a job as a building site labourer in Dartford (about an hour on the train) - did seal the thing for me.

And after all this when Danny asks me if I'm still lookin for a Job and I reply that I've given up he replies that my standards are too high, that I should have taken the Building site job etc.. The usual thatcherite bollocks, it makes me sad that he's turned into an all out toryboy, blind even to the fact that despite their best efforts four of his friends have failed completely to find any employment and two more have only got jobs because a relative has given them a sinecure. I couldn't work on a building site, come on, I'm a posh bugger whose normal speaking voice is pretty much inaudible to most people, I've got no experience with that sort of work and I've got all the physical strength of a balloon. The most annoying thing is that there isn't a chance that, given the same situation, Danny would have taken that job either, it would've messed up his hair.

Now he's made me all angry and depressed. This evening with everyone giving Danny evil looks and making subtle little slights at him that he probably doesn't even notice anymore made me sad. I know that this arrangement is going to make the group splinter up into little bits. If nobody snaps and actually confronts Danny then the group will probably slowly drift apart as people start having little, selective gatherings of their own, and all sorts of little cliques form. If someone does confront him then probably some people will support him and others won't and the group will split that way. It's a shame although pretty inevitable really. I figured a while ago that I'll probably drift away from most of the group over the years, although I couldn't see myself losing contact with Colin, Paul and Dave. I still think that holds true, probably, although It's hard to be sure.


This is a big ramble. I'm not even sure why I'm writing it, seeing as my one reader probably won't read it for another few days. And most of it probably only really concerns me. Man these things are self indulgent aren't they. I meant to make this vaguely interesting when I started, write stuff that was funny and interesting, editorialise man. But now I'm just rambling like some middle class gothboy.

I think I'll cut down the amount I write in this as most of this is such crap, not really of any interest to anybody. Not even you.


Sunday, July 24, 2005


I've just realised that I missed that anti-racist festival* today, completely forgot about it, even though two of my friends are working on it this year. Damn, another day spent sitting on my arse when I could have been doing something interesting. It's a shame I missed that, its usually a good laff. Last year Dad and a group of people rode an 8 man bike all the way there and were doing tours of the festival on it, as long as people helped with the pedalling that is. They usually have some OK bands - usually local youth Jazz bands and suchlike, some big names but not anyone that interesting.

It's a pretty vague and nebulous idea that they celebrate - basically they went "we need to think of something that everyone agrees is a good idea that we can get drunk about... Anti racist?... yeah!"

Oh well. It's fun.

Yesterday I left the house, Go Me!

I walked to Greenwich park and then through to Deptford. Back through Greenwich and Charlton until I got to Plumstead and from there back o'er** the hill to home (a round trip of about 5 and a half hours). I know that the place names don't really mean anything to you but I think it's about 10 miles or thereabouts. So I've done well...

I then downed 2 pints of guiness in the evening, so I'm sure any health benefits it may have given me were thoroughly negated.

I think I'll do it again tomorrow though. I'm not going to stop drinking but at least this cancels it out.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this as I think for the next week or so this won't actually have any readers at all, apart from perhaps if Eddie has got bored (it'd have to be really really bored, I gave up trying to write anything interesting in this thing a while ago, it's just too much effort).

*Greenwich council excuse for a big party; bands play, much chinese and Indian food is eaten and all sorts of strange musical groups and sports teams have demonstrations

**bit of accidental shakespearian spelling

Friday, July 22, 2005

It's happening again

If the news wasn't noteworthy enough to cross the Atlantic the news story is on the beeb.

It's weird, not managing to get a job in London is looking more and more like a good thing as the summer goes on. It was unpleasantly familiar this time around, sitting at the kitchen table while eating my lunch looking at the static pictures of police cordons and listening to the wild speculation and rumour that that rolling news purveyors have to rely on at times like this, especially when the police are trying to keep their mouths shut until they are sure just what is going on. It was noticeable, however, the difference in the tone of the reporting between the attacks of last week and today's confusing mess; last time it was all panic and shock, you could hear the weirdly human concern in the otherwise flat newsreaders. Today though it's just business as usual, admittedly this attack is nothing like the scale of the last one - although not for want of trying - but even right at the very beginning when nothing was known about what had happened other than 'Incidents' at three tube stations and one bus. Even with the echoes of the last attacks still ringing in people's ears people don't seem to be that afraid anymore, I think the attitude is that the bastards have done their worst, it's like a horror film that shows you the monster too early, it isn't half as scary the second time it appears. I think soon they will be seen in exactly the same way as the IRA - just a bunch of idiotic idealists, vicious thugs and psychopaths (and the odd combination of all three) - their mystique is breaking now, especially considering they fucked this one up.

Although I find that a bit strange, I'm assuming (my turn at wild speculation now folks) that this lot were a bunch of copycats, without the organization of the previous group, although the fuzz are saying that the forensics on the explosives matches that of the previous attack. If that is the case then it seems odd that they couldn't get the bombs to work the second time, I reckon that the spooks (MI5 probably - it's their scene) might have had a hand in this one; feeding them incorrect information or wrangling it so that their explosives were crap. In which case I think we might not know the truth about the matter until the 30 year rule releases the papers.

But anyway, I'm sounding like a conspiracy theorist now, and there are definitely enough of them on the internet already - top quality nutters too, not just paranoid but really creatively so. My favorite being David Icke - look him up if you want a laugh - he thinks that all people in power are in fact man-eating, shape-shifting lizards. Various Jewish groups think that this is some kind of thinly guided anti semitism but I think that they are really reading too much into the ramblings of a nutter; for god's sake the guy is an ex sports commentator who infamously declared that he was Jesus on live TV in the '70s.

hmm. I appear to have drifted off on a bit of a tangent here, never mind, I didn't really have anything in particular to say anyway. I'm just bored and itchy and I haven't left the house for days. Tomorrow I'm going to walk down to deptford and have a look at the abomination that is parked in the Thames down there - a cruise liner called 'The World' - according to madre it looks like a floating tower block that's been coated in PVC.

Now where did I put those limpet mines...


Thursday, July 21, 2005


It took a while for me to write that word, as I have had rather a lot of the alcoholic variety of drink. My head hurts, and I have to be up at 8am tomorrow morning to take Issie to school. I hasten to add that I didn't know this until after I had already had about 5 pints; curse the lack of communication in this house.

So, now I'm trying my hardest to write in coherent english with the big delay on the computer and the big delay in my head confusing matters no end. I'm having to think more than I should about what I'm typing and where my fingers are going, I've already missed the keyboard completely a few times now.

I need a wee now, excuse me.

...And I'm back, wasn't that fun.

I was wondering what effect, if any, Alcohol has on socialisation and general grooviness. I have been sitting around drinking and talking with my friends in the garden all evening and I was wondering, how much of the rambling strange conversation was due to me being bored and how much was due to me being drunk. I've been told time and time again that you dont need booze to have fun, but I'm not sure.

While I think that it is of course possible to have a good time without drinking - most of my life from the age of 0 to 17 is testament to this fact - there is a certain flavour of fun that can only be reached by getting really, really munted. In the same way that many tribes think that a certain kind of enlightenment and grooviness with the almighty dudes can only be reached be eating-of-the-sacred-cactus or whatever, popping microdots or drinking mescaline if that's your thing. Either way, a state that can only be reached by indulging in the forbidden pharmaceuticals.

need a wee again.

...Wow isn't my life exciting, you're getting it real time here.

oh man.

I think that I've just been told too many times that I don't need alcohol and that it doesn't do anything other than make you a prick. I'm getting pretty bored with that whole argument, I'm sure it has some effect, although what that effect is still evades me. Perhaps it's just me, but being told one thing for long enough generally makes me want to do the other. My head is telling me that reliance on external forces to make me sociable is a sign of weakness.

It probably is, fuck. I need to stop drinking, I've got a bad headache now and I've got to be up in 7 hours. I'm sure the evening was different because of the alcohol, but whether it was better or worse is something that I can't really say.

Fuck, I'm lonely... that's something that alcohol makes more obvious, although I'd rather it didn't, bollocks.

I'm going to take some fizzygoodmakenice and go to sleep now.

oh man.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A New Flavour of Boredom

When you are so bored that Waterworld seems like a good film. I don't think that it's as bad as the critics at the time said, they did make it sound less fun than leprosy, but it is not exactly a classic either. But I've nothing better to do, and I've been up since 8am - yes, apparently there is such a time.

Anyway, it now seems that after rent, I have rather less money than I'd hoped I would at this stage. This puts a nasty shadow on my drink-myself-stupid plan for the summer, as I don't particularly like drinking three litre bottles of white cider in a tramp stylee I might have to think of something constructive to do. Which is, of course, what I've been whining about every single night for the last god knows how long. But seeing as I've not been online for a while - a medium amount of drinky = a great amount of sleep - I thought I've give you my share of directionless moaning about my inability to use what small shreds of initiative I have to do something useful with myself.

I can't actually be bothered to write the meat of the actual moaning here so I'll just leave it to your imagination, you've heard enough of it before so I'm sure that you can fill in the gaps.

I'm gradually assembling something, I'm not sure what it is, writing wise. It's just random fragments, ideas and suchlike, not any coherent story, just I've decided to write down ideas, whether I cant fit them into anything larger or not. Not sure why exactly; it's just filling up my computer with random bits of prose and stuff. Still, it could be worse, there are a few deeply weird musical creations also on the computer now - my ability to compose music is rather hampered by my lack of talent - a three part riff done entirely on basses doesn't sound too great.

Still, it keeps me off the streets and I haven't felt the urge to do anything really stupid for a while now, although I did nearly walk to Crystal Palace (about 10 miles away - across London) today, which would have hurt a lot and probably ended up with me selling my body on the street for a train fare home - which is probably the best I could hope to get for it in its current state.

There I go again. Enough with the moaning already!

I'm really in a much better mood than all this bollocks would suggest

I think I'll try that walk sometime soon, but not without lots of water and an A-Z.

I'm off to bed now.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No camera

I've one of those days where you sit there kick yourself for forgetting your camera. I went for a wander and ended up in the tarn (not literally, otherwise I would have got a bit wet) which is a sort of giant duck pond in a depression a few miles from where I live. I was walking down one of the rather overgrown and goose-shit-splattered paths - that place makes me want to take a shotgun to canada geese, horrible mean little shits that they are - when a heron walked out of a bush and stood about 3 feet in front of me looking ponderous as herons always do. It sat there and looked very regal and pretty for about a minute then shit on the path and flew up into a tree, it continued the task of staring at me from a safer position.

Huge bird, very cool.

But no camera.



Friday, July 15, 2005


I'm bored, very bored. In the absence of anything else to do I've taken to walking here, there and everywhere in an attempt to not end the summer looking like Jabba the Hut. I'm not sure how successful it's been on the exercise side of things - it probably consumes about the same amount of fat as I eat in about ten minutes of snacking - but it's got me out into the sunshine and gives me lots of time to think - not that I need it. With all this time I have on my hands I started to approach the boredom in a scientific manner - trying to understand it - I've given up trying to avoid it now, too much effort.

The science of Boredom was first revealed to me by the pioneering boredom scholar, and world-leading procrastinator, Douglas Adams. In one of the Hitch Hikers' Guide Books (I can't remember which one exactly, but I think it's the third one) He describes a specific kind of boredom; that of the long dark teatime of the soul - the state of mind reached in the time between lunch and anything decent coming on the TV, when the day stretches out before you in all its mind numbing inevitability.

Being in a good position to do a serious practical study, I've decided that I'll put them up on here as I discover them, and anyone else who reads this - I'm pretty sure it's only one person - can put up any they discover in their travels through life. I'll probably get bored with this idea too, but that can wait.

Currently I'm suffering from what, for the sake of reference, I shall call Boredom Number 1 - This is the vague tedium that comes from waiting for someone else to come online. It is a dangerous variant as it is part of the subgroup of Computer-assisted boredom, which is boredom exacerbated (had to ask word how to spell that one) by the presence of the internet. This particular brand of monotony can cause such actions as [A] writing bollocks in weblogs [B] Scrawling through webcomics that really aren't funny at all and [C] Gradually losing faith in the literacy and intelligence of humanity; or at least English speaking humanity - which is the only sort I can really comment on as my French grammar and syntax is even worse than my English. It can be fought by [A] Listening to music [B] watching TV or [C] Getting up and talking to someone and coming back later. Treatments do not always work however - sometimes the boredom fairy just decides that it is your time and you will be bored - in these cases keep some recreational drugs handy.

There are many other kinds that I shall document, some as warning as they can be dangerous, boredom in the presence of power tools for example is one with particularly grisly consequences. But the odds are that I'll probably reach some new height of boredom and never bother to write any more. Which is probably just as well as it could cause the spread of Boredom Number 2 - This form is caused by reading my weblog and can cause [A] a feeling of desperation at the level you've sunk to [B] A sense of shock that someone this illiterate is an English student and [C] An urge touch Donkeys, Mules and other pack animals in a highly suggestive manner. It can be countered by just not reading these tired ramblings and doing something pleasant.


No! not the donkeys!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Hungover Ramblings

I've been munted out of my mind since thursday. I'm going to give it a rest today, even though I'm going to a family barbeque, I think the liver needs a period of recuperation .

That, and I'm a bit hungover today. I think I had 8 pints last night, but I think there may have been Gin involved as well. So this morning = ow.

Went off for a little jammage with my (reunited) band, everyone has got better, Tony in the extreme, he's past what I'd consider pro-level now, getting into the brain meltingly brilliant sort of stage. All this makes me feel a bit thick, as I have learned little new skills in the last year and what I have learned has been generally useless, show off stuff that isn't really any use in a band that wants to sound good.

I've got to go now - It's red meat and relatives time.


Saturday, July 09, 2005


I'm not going to bother to reproduce this becuase I should think the thing is doing the rounds across the internet already, it's good stuff. A lot of the politicians have been waxing eloquent but Ken Livingstone appears to have won the gravitas fight.

Here's the speech


I don't like to think that I'm spreading the usual internet patriotic bollocks but, I don't know, my usual rules appear to be suspended at the moment.

It has to be said that in my experience people live in harmony because nobody talks to anyone else, but I suppose nobody seems to bear any malice above the usual city stress. The photo that the independant went with today was good, full front cover - an elderly muslim man covered in blood being helped out of the bus in Russell square.

I'm still angry about all this.

I'm off to the pub to rant indiscrimnately at anyone who can't run away.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Oh fuck

Have a look at the news if you don't know what I'm talking about.

It's been getting more and more icky as the day goes on, at the beginning it didn't look too bad, London has suffered some pretty bad terrorist attacks over the years, but it's now exceeded anything that the Domestic nutters have ever managed.

Makes me feel sick, I don't mean that in a it makes me angry sort of way. I mean it actually makes me feel sick. It's horrible.

Although the thing is that stuff like this happens pretty much every other day in Iraq, usually killing more people, and millions of people die of needless diseases and things like that everyday. But, I don't know, this is closer to home; it's places I've been to, stations I've sat in for ages waiting for trains, places I might be working If I'd managed to get a bloody job. I think that people can only cope with the idea of a certain number of people existing in the world, everyone's world can only be populated by a couple of million people at the most, the others, disgusting as this sounds, are background detail. The people in London were real people in my head, just people on trains; cleaners, builders, nice people, bad people, old and young. They weren't a political target, not even in a broad sense, it wasn't a strike at symbol of imperialism or capitalism, they just killed a bunch of innocent people trying to get to work. The isn't any glory in that, no matter how sick you are.

OK. Now I'm angry

But I'll only get more angry if they try and solve this the same way they caused it. The British attitude to terrorists always used to work; Diplomacy and police work, and I think it can still. People talk about never negotiating with terrorists, not letting them win, but then they erode all the values of freedom that they are supposedly defending in their war on Terror.

Bugger. Now I'm being political. I didn't want to do that here; there's enough ill-informed opinion flying around on the net without me adding shit to the steaming pile. I'm not even sure if I really believe that stuff, drawing a comparison between the IRA and the Islamists is not going to work. The IRA were a bunch of glorified mobsters who would occasionally blow things up after telling everyone to run away in a pathetic attempt at looking merciful. It can't really compared to a bunch of fucked up godbotherers who think that what they've done is a "blessed raid in London"* and that somehow killing innocent people is going to improve their situation.

I'll probably be able to write something a little more coherent when I'm in possession of more facts and with the benefit of hindsight.

I don't know. I think a vaccine against religion should be developed.



Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Independence Day

Is a good excuse for getting hammered

Last night me and some friends decided to visit the pub for this reason. That, and the fact that it was monday. We even drank a token bottle of American beer, uuugh. I'm not doing that again; it's worse than fosters, although not quite as bad as Carling. But really, short of degenerative diseases and Fascists, what is?

I think I'm going to press for more spurious holidays in the British calendar. England has the lowest number of national holidays in Europe (Just England. Not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland - they all have a bank holiday on their patron saints day and various historical thingies) and that is obviously a terrible thing. Also the few that we have are mostly in either the winter, which is a bit shite, or during the summer holidays, which is no use to children - who are the ones who actually enjoy it, and students - who probably enjoy it but don't remember afterwards. Around this time of year would be a good time for a holiday.

We celebrated independence day last night but only because when you are a student everyday is a holiday, and every holiday is just another day, which takes the fun out of things a bit but that's not what I'm talking about here. To Americans July 4th is a celebration of independence and Nasty beer. We decided that it would be a bit stupid celebrating independence when we are all stuck living with our parents and as for nasty beer, well, it just wouldn't be British (or Belgian - which is usually better).

Instead I propose a truly British holiday. Dependence Day. We celebrate our dependence on pretty much everyone and everything, at both a national and a personal level. Our inability to make fire without krazy khemicals or hunt without guns. Our reliance on America for military power, pretty people and music that isn't annoyingly dreary or stupidly stylized. Our dependence on our parents for cash, support and genetic material. Our dependence on other people to make us feel less ugly [/emo]. Our dependence on fossilised vegetable matter for transport, heating, political power, etc.

I could go on but I think my abuse of grammar is bad enough as it is, so taking it further would only earn me letterbombs from the militant wing of the apostrophe protection society. What I'm trying to say is that Britain should have a festival where we celebrate our relative unimportance, because we don't have to make important decisions, earn money or have everybody hate us. We are free to get drunk on beer that is made in another country, sold by Australians and paid for with money we borrowed from our parents.

For as long as their patience lasts, which is where the plan falls down really.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Drink along with Live 8

Today I have been wasting my time in strange and creative ways. Me, Eddie and Pat have been sitting around watching Live 8 and, like all bored students, devised a drinking game around it at about 2 in the afternoon. Basically when the BBC presenters talk about the 'atmosphere' or the 'Vibe' - you down two fingers. When the acts or any of the guests does some pre-watershed swearing (It's going out live so there's been a shitload - when Snoop Dogg came on we got a bit munted) - you down two fingers. When one of the soul singers goes crazy with the vibrato - you down two fingers. When one of the singers says "but seriously" or "seriously now" - you down two fingers. It's simple, as all the best drinking related activities are (My current favourite being the one from family guy - "You won the game!" "what game?" "drink the beer" "what do I win?" "another beer!") but surpisingly effective, as I'm a bit lubricated.

Yes, I know I'm drinking at home, but at least I'm trying to make it interesting.


Friday, July 01, 2005

On Writing

Good news! I've got my groove back, things are working; I can cook without injuring myself, play bass without fumbling over my own fingers and write without forgetting what on earth I was trying to express.

I was wondering what strange force it is that governs this. Is it the moon? something in my diet? I have no idea, sometimes though my mojo just appears to be broken. It gets pretty annoying when I can play for hours without being able to string even a half-decent walking bassline together, then come back and hit my groove just before I have to go out or go to bed or something like that. It doesn't seem to be linked to my mood; I've written some very good stuff while in a serious funk but I've also produced cool stuff when feeling froody and hep. I think it might be somthing to do with restlessness, when I can't keep my mind focused all that comes out is shite. I need to be in the right frame of mind.

It seems that concentrating helps, I'd always assumed that teachers were lying.

Last night at about 2am I switched off the lights and went to go to sleep. I had no joy in that department and, after staring at the walls for a couple of minutes, got up and wandered over to my computer. Things were appearing in my head, as is often the way when I'm trying to go to sleep; fragments of song lyrics, some already existing, some in my head; pieces of dialogue, sometimes part of a story I've already come up with, sometimes just isolated fragments. Ideas for stories, old conversations, bits of music, basslines, melodies, all sorts of bits and bobs. I sat in front of my computer writing whatever hung around in my head long enough for me to get it onto paper until 8am, when I fell asleep in a pile of scribbled notes for a script idea I had abandoned about 2 years ago as unworkable.

Looking at the notes again today I can still say, despite last nights efforts, that it is definately unworkable. Not only that, also completely incomprehensible. The thing is that last night I think I could have made it work. If I hadn't run out of steam I probably could have sorted out a solution to all of the issues I had with it. It reminded me of the idea graveyard that sits in a box in my room, all the ideas that I didn't manage to get a proper framework down for before I slipped out of turbo-mode. After the initial burst of inspiration I lost my way and the idea faltered, occasionally the result is still quite funny though.

Looking through it today has been interesting. I forget just how much bollocks I've written over the years, scripts (The Party, A Walk in the Park, Prepwork, Strange Meeting), sketches (mostly comedy - some just isolated chunks of dialogue), short stories (usually attempts to get old ideas to work in a different format), plans for longer pieces that I knew that I'd never bother to write (Blue Bell Hill) and just plans and notes that never got any further than that stage, usually because I couldn't finish the story properly - filling out the characters, their situation etc(Facing Up, Mother). The last category are the ones that I still think I could do somthing with - they are ideas that were never ruined by me trying to write them down.

I attacked one of them last night (mother) and it went pretty well. It's the idea I explained to you Kristen. I started intending to just write notes on how the script would go but it sort of turned into prose I'm not sure whether to turn it into a script or attempt to turn it into a short story. Prose has never really been my thing though.

Anyway. I'm rambling again.


Thursday, June 30, 2005


That's what my life is at the moment, and probably what this post will be. I've just been loafing about playing computer games and staring vacantly into space. I know I'm bad when I try and play the bass and get nothing, I play but I can't string a decent groove together, can't remember any songs I've learned in the past and my bass doesn't sound good. This is something that I have to keep telling myself is my fault and not the fault of the gear. Many people have fallen into that trap. Hank Marvin (guitarist with the shadows) being a good example; he had a nervous breakdown and became convinced that his stratocaster was constantly drifting out of tune and stopped using it.

But anyway, why am I rambling about 1950's skiffle guitarists who played with the closeted purveyor of ultimate filth? I must be going soft in the head.

Today I went up to london with my new lovely new CV; Improved, and filled with diplomatic extensions of the truth, exaggerations and the occasional outright lie. I spend about a day working on it with the help of parents, brother and friends.


I got nothing. Yes, I have now been rejected by Adecco, Knightsbridge, Reed and Hodges, all of which before I could even produce my CV from its folder. Bastards. They all basically said, to paraphase a little, "You a student? Well fuck off then, we're up to our eyeballs in students". So no dice. Eddie, who is in some pretty serious debt - not having managed Ben's patented inexplicable frugality trick - is getting mildly fustrated, in a mellow sort of way. I would say he is worried or frustrated or angry, but he doesn't go to those kind of extremes. He just looks slightly vexed and leaves it at that.

He makes me look like some kind of hysterical neurotic.

I was given a list of specialist temping agencies in London that cater for different Career paths; engineering, advertising, financial etc. The Branch manager that dealt with temporary work in the Construction and Industrial sectors was called - wait for it - MANLEY SUMMERS! is that not the most appropriate name ever? I've got this image of a guy in a hard hat with a big Tom Selleck mustache and a hard hat on, listening to disco in his office.

Tomorrow I think I'm off to the job centre on the high street to try and find some menial floor scrubbing job or something. It's annoying but oh well, as with all university employment things the second and third years bagged it all years ago and are clinging onto it like a tramp with a bottle of White Lightning.

Wow, it was just as dull as I promised. Go me.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I'm currently trying to revise my CV to make it look like I'm actually quaified to do something. Very hard to do without actually lying the air blue. Strangely, dispite my innate ability to bullshit wildly on pretty much any subject that I have even the slightest knowledge of, I have a great deal of trouble even exaggerating things mildly on these sort of documents. In a bollocks-fest like a UCAS (University and College Admissions Service) application or a CV this puts me at a pretty major disadvantage.

I don't usually have that much of a problem lying about myself or exaggerating my achievements, thats how I get most of my friends these days. However when it comes to bullshitting about myself in written form I get really nervous, when I'm spinning a yarn about something that never happened or that didn't actually happen to me I'm ok. Generally when I'm held to account by someone when I say something too implausible or contradictory to something I'd said before I can just deny or charm my way out of things. There are no written records of drunken anecdotes or minor character padding. It's the idea of things coming back to haunt me that bothers me when I'm writing these things; the lies I say here, the aspects of myself that I exaggerate, I will have to continue to propagate until I start to believe them myself (I can do that, I've done it before; told someone else's story so many times that I honestly believed that it had happened to me. Scared the crap out of me when I remembered it didn't). I don't like to make myself into more of a fiction than I already am; sometimes I have to stop mid sentance when I realise that I'm saying something so staggeringly far from the truth that it makes baby jesus cry.

That said I don't think that, at the moment, there is a fictional me and a 'real' me. I tell stories that never happened to me from my perspective because they are stories that only work in the first person. If I prefixed them with a preface about who it was this happened to it wouldn't work. I can't conjure an image in their minds with the exploits of some guy they've never met, with myself they picture the scene and laugh at my imagined reactions. I don't lie about anything important apart from the usual airbrushing of dark moments and shameful episodes that I keep in a box in the corner of my head. Like the fact that once, long ago, I bought a Will Smith album - that's one that even in the midst of a drunken 'worst CD you've ever bought' competition I never bring out - I'm only writing it here because I don't think anyone actually reads this bullshit and if they do they'd have certainly got bored and stopped by now.

I wrote about another 500 words of this navel gazing bollocks. But I've stuck it somewhere safe until I've read the author who expresses what I'm trying to say more coherently than I could ever manage myself. When he or she does I'll probably end up passing it off as my own to the credulous and quote it to look intelligent to those you'd smell a rat.

Such is life.

I think I've drifted past whatever point I may have once had now so I'll stop. I'm sorry about this - its late, I'm waiting for Kristen to come online and avoiding working on my CV. I think I'm going to give up on waiting for her before I fall asleep, she can read this and feel glad that she wasn't online to be on the recieving end of this badly written, angsty introversion binge.


Or is it. Who knows

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ornithological Homicide

Egad, freaking blackbirds.

As you probably know from the previous post, last night I was a little the worse for wear. Finally tottering off to bed around 2am, the heat and general stickitude kept me awake until around 3am.

This day began at 7:30am with a neurotic blackbird sitting on the roof near my room screeching a single note every second or so, with alarm clock regularity and volume. I attacked the little bugger with bits of balled up paper, water pistols and bleary-eyed, hungover shouting. Does the bugger stop? Does it fuck. The little bastard kept going even after I'd got it with some compressed lecture notes, it just moved out of reach. Apparently it's what they do if their nests get raided, a sort of distress call - hardly surprising as the dumb fuckers would try and nest in a cat's litter box if people didn't stop them - it amazes me they've survived so long. Eventually I gave up and lurched painfully out of bed, aching from the walk home from the pub and the harmful intoxicants going sour in my bloodstream.

I really shouldn't drink, I never cut a sexy figure, zombified in the morning. The annoying thing is that I didn't plan to last night, but when I got to the bar the words 'pint of carlsberg mate' escaped my mouth before I realised that wasn't what I wanted. Although I could have stopped drinking last night after one pint, the group I was with were so tense and uncommunicative that I had to get them wasted to get any kind of entertainment out of them. I think my friends are going out tonight and - much as being neither out nor scromping on a friday night gives me the screaming heebie jeebies - I think I'm going to give it a miss.

Now Kristen's blog entry has made me remember the loneliness and heartbreak that I was drinking last night to forget. Arse.

I'm a wreckage.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rather Intoxicated

Have spent the evening with a few of my friends, fun was had by most, if not all. I am rather drunk, which is pretty normal. I am also very hot, which, being english, is not normal.

The gang were as always; John fabricating wildly, even occasionally alluding to fabrications of my own that I had long since forgotten. I discovered that apparently, at a party I remember little of - apart from picking a guy up and throwing him into a wall after he touched my neck - I stuck my foot into my mouth and sat there giggling for about 5 minutes abd telling everyone else to try it. Bizarrely everyone did apparently. Obviously, coming from John I take this story with a grain of salt but it did seem to trigger a vague memory somewhere. The rest were also playing their parts well - Howie was being slightly camp - Amy being frankly disturbing - you never met her, count yourself lucky. Generally just a normal night out with the peeps. I chatted with Tony about hunting down an escaped singer/guitarist that we've mislaid since the summer, and reforming the band for a few gigs for beer money in New Cross and the general area.. I doubt anything will come of it but it's worth a try.

Strangely, although the Ex talked to me quite a lot tonight, she never even came close to making eye contact with me, to the extent of staring at a pillar for an entire conversation. It gets pretty unnerving after a while, it was like chatting to a guard outside buckhingham palace.

Oh man, so hot. I steam.

To sleep or not to sleep?

probably best to go for sleep.


sorry about the grammar, but as I said: rather drunk.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Euff. Bollocks. I've just found an Email telling me that I've been rejected by 2 temping agencies now, and both of them sent me patronising little letters saying that basically I'm only good for manual labour. Fuck. It seems that they don't see CVs worse than mine all the time, I'm special. An annoyingly bad ending to what has been a pretty good day on the whole.

It is the midsummer solstice here; I'm pretty sure it is everywhere else too but I'm not sure. The world can be strange. This has been the day on which, for the last five years at least, I walk alone up to the top of Shooters Hill and watch the sun go down over London, in all its murky finery. I've tried to write a song about it, but I can't write songs. Or paint a picture of it, but I can't draw. I'd like to write a poem, a short story or something interesting, but I can't write. Basically every year for the last half a decade I go to the top of the ancient hill, sit on the burial mounds of the long forgotten warriors, and wait for some flash of inspiration to arrive. It never does, and each year I leave more frustrated with my inability to make the things I produce, whether it is music, writing or any other field, match the ideas and visions in my head.

However, this evening wasn't a bad one, as these things go. I met up with some friends in a field on the side of the hill and joined them in talking and drinking until about midnight. This suceeded in distracting me from the usual questions that plague me on this night. Instead it focused my attention back to a subject, brought up by a friend, that I haven't relly given any thought to in a while now.

Colin wanted to know when I could come and help him revise a script, for production, that I wrote about a year ago. He's been trying to get the project off the ground since the new year, but I'm afraid to even look at the damn script again. Its like Schrodinger's cat: If I don't look at it, the screenplay remains niether good nor bad, but by reading it I will be forced to decide whether or not this project, which represents my most concerted effort to make something memorable yet, was worth the hours and hours I spent on it.

Oh, man. nervous. But hey, with the possibility of finding gainful employment rapidly dwindling away, I've got nothing better to do this summer.

Have at Ye, Script!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ben and the Impending Doom

I'm currently writing my CV (In American; Resume) with a feeling of nervous apprehension about what this summer will hold in store for me. It seems likely, unless I suddenly discover a massive quantity of hard cash in the woods, that I'm going to have to spend the summer working in offices around London and sitting on the train up to london bridge all day. The alternative isn't particularly appealing either; sleeping away the summer in my room, playing computer games, drinking myself stupid (not that that takes much work) and generally wasting my time.

Bleh, I think I'm just suffering from the consequences of being an English student. The fact is that even if I'm frugal, spend only the bare minimum and manage to not go into my overdraft, I'll still finish my degree with about £10,000 of debt and a degree that gives me about the same employment prospects as someone who has the word Satan carved into their forehead and likes to go to job interviews naked (probably a slight exaggeration but hey, I'm feeling pretty screwed over by circumstance at the moment and want to be melodramatic today).

I should stop whining, plenty of people have it worse than me, probably just about everyone actually, come to think of it. I'm turning into one of those middle class whingers who believe that they are really hard up because Daddy can't buy them a new BMW. Erg.

Ooooh, Angst, angst! I'll just go and stand on this floor monitor...

*slaps self*

I'm going to go back to writing this CV - pretty hard to make it look good when you don't have any skills to speak of and very little work experience beyond sticking things through tills. Oh well, I'm going to have to show them something, I'm sure they see plenty worse than mine.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Cars and Summertime

Wow, it's hot today: 32 Celsius (90F). I've been sitting around steaming and staring blankly into space. Spent loads of time in a car traveling because me and my family went to a park miles outside of of London - went half way back to Canterbury today, everything got very familiar the further out of London we went. I Spent a happy hour or two harassing fallow deer in a park somewhere near Sevenoaks and then went home.

It was weird being in a car again. I've spent the last year walking everywhere and now cars seem a bit restrictive. Robert Pirsig wrote about how a motorbike is better for traveling long distances than a car because on a motorbike you are in the scenery, whereas when in a car you are watching it through a window, reducing nature to just more television. I've never entirely dug that, but after the last few days I'm starting to understand that view a bit better. All the way to our destination today I was craning my head around like a schizophrenic cat, trying to see though a fleeting gap in a hedge or back at some glimpsed vista, wanting to be able to see all around me rather than just what could be seen between the struts and frames.

I think that to properly dig the world around you, being on a motorbike isn't enough. You need to be able to sit and watch, pause and see everything in a different way, see it in love, see it out of love, get drunk in it, throw up on it, do a handstand in it if you want; basically, live in it. You can't live everywhere though, which is sometimes a problem, and sometimes not. A lot of the world is butt-ugly so I think it's probably better to see the beautiful places in detail rather than everything, good and bad, in one shape only.

oh dear, I sound like a hippy.


Thursday, June 16, 2005


I've been reading 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' by Lynne Truss. This is a book about punctuation and, at least the opening couple of pages, about the terrible toll that misuse of the apostrophe* takes on the good, honest pedant. I'm not entirely sure what I think of the book just yet, I've been reading it with a mixture of interest and irritation. Interest, because it has taught me many things about grammar that I was either never taught or have long since forgotten and irritation because well, I don't like people pointing out that I'm thick.

Since the complexity of my spoken English surpassed my ability to write it down I have been in a state of war with grammar, mostly because I can't write down - coherently anyway - what I can say out loud, but also because I dislike picky little rules in general. This hostility towards grammar has been a source of tension between me and teachers, me and Kristen, and between me and plenty of other people. I regard complaints about my punctuation, I think, in a similar way to my reaction to people criticizing my handwriting: a feeling that they are like the child more interested in the box than the present, although take that metaphor further and it seems quite justified as the 'present' is usually crap. I think the problem - certainly with my handwriting - is that I rarely write for the benefit of anyone other than myself. For example the only things that I hand-write now are my signature, lecture notes (On the rare occasions when I can be bothered to get up) and scribbled reminders about things to do or to write. This is why my handwriting has descended into a kind of scrawled shorthand that other people can only understand with a great deal of effort, bordering on cryptography, and my punctuation generally comes off the faster I go, like post-it notes on a sportscar. Normally, therefore, I write not with intelligibility in mind. My writing is like guitar Tab. Guitar Tab is a form of musical notation that tells you something you already half know: it doesn't give you the timing of the song, just the notes. You have to already know the tune or it's useless as a way of learning a piece of music. By the same token I generally already know half of what I have written when I come to read it and just need the words to fill in the gaps.

I know that sounds a bit bizarre but that's how things work in my head. I used to (many years ago) write in a big James Joyce style homogeneous blob then read it through, and put in the punctuation after I'd finished. Bearing that in mind my attitude to punctuation really isn't that unexplainable; for some reason writing and punctuation are dealt with by different parts of my mind that don't like working together.

However, I have reached the decision that as people correcting my grammar makes me angry, and I don't like being angry, I should improve my grammar. The stuff above is a reason for my grammar being bad, not really an attempt at trying to defend it as a valid position (I know it isn't - to extend the metaphor I used earlier through the boundaries of taste, decency and comprehensibility - the lovely present gets broken if the box isn't there).

My appalling punctuation is one of the reasons that I started this blog. I needed to get practice writing, and in a format that there is a possibility (albeit a very small one) of other people actually reading, thus giving me a reason to put a little more effort into making it understandable than normal.

Yes, I know this is full of errors, but that's only to be expected really. If you've been paying any attention to what I've been saying rather than just picking at the punctuation then I hope you won't judge me too harshly, otherwise grit your teeth and read it again, you dirty little pedant.


*as highlighted by the Apostrophe Protection society - (good grammar, shite webdesign)

Monday, June 13, 2005

On walking in London

On Sunday I went for a walk through the woods, parkland and general area around where I live. While out I performed some social experiments. After being in the countryside (I know that in theory Canterbury is a city but come on, it's not a real city, it has no smog and it actually gets dark at night!) for the best part of a year I have got used to actually talking to people. I know I don't talk as much as would be considered polite by countryside standards, but I did this experiment to illustrate why I am thus.

Leaving the house, Sunday 12th June 2005. It was a sunny day (at that point - damn weather) and I felt like leaving the house. It was about 9am when I left (I get up early here - don't know why) and I was wearing my approachable face, not my 'fuck off and leave me alone' face - which is really more appropriate for travel in London. I decided that I would attempt to talk to people today.

09:11 - Middle aged man walking his dog - said good morning, he replied with a smile and a level of courtesy I've only ever seen given to Kristen - I think perhaps he was coming on to me...

09:23 - Pair of old ladies walking what I can only assume were dogs, but only because I don't think people walk guinea pigs on a Sunday morning - Said hello and smiled (in a non creepy way) got a look like I'd just jumped naked out of the bushes screaming - they mumbled something and walked away at a great speed, dragging their strange, snub-nosed rat creatures behind them.

09:43 - Man, early twenties, big backpack - greeted him, he replied with the air of a man accosted by a smelly tramp on the tube and stomped off moodily.

09:57 - Man, late thirties, going bald - Said good morning, received no reply. He just stared at me and kept looking over his shoulder as he walked away.

10:02 - bunch of Kids playing - Parents lurking a short distance away - didn't talk to them because kids smell and I didn't want to look like a pervert. Especially seeing as their dad was staring at me. He wasn't reaching for his shotgun, because this is England, but he would have done if he could.

10:18 - Woman, about thirty, pushing bike up one of the more extreme slopes in the woods - I said good morning she replied, asked me directions etc. It was actually a conversation. She was probably an escaped mental patient, hungry for blood

10:19 - Strange looking old geezer. Was distracted by the previous unexpected social interaction - nothing said.

10:27 - Big scary lookin' bloke with a dog that actually had a human hand in its bloodstained jaws (I may have made that part up) - I didn't say anything to him as I was afraid that making eye contact might constitute "lookin' at me funny" and talking would certainly constitute "Being Lairy" which is a terrible crime, almost as bad as "bein' clever" and punishable by kicking.

10:48 - Small boy, about three, standing in a front garden in Plumstead. - Stood up and asked me what my name was, I said Ben, he grinned and said his name was Chris-toe-fer, and went turned back to the toy car that apparently demanded fierce concentration. Best conversation of the day.

11:02 - Went into a shop to get some food, no reply to my greeting, just the price and thank you - pretty much the exact same manner with which I served people in the shop I used to work in.

At this point I got tired of my attempts at social interaction, put on my fuck off face and started for home.

People are a tiny bit more sociable than I had previously thought but only in that they don't run screaming or hit me as a reply to my attempt at conversation.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Home/ Old Computers

I have returned to the sunny (well grey - but daylight at least) streets of south east London and it hasn't really changed very much. According to my brother this ' walls closing in on me' feeling is normal upon returning home from uni. I'll probably write more about my current environs in a while, for the moment I'm preoccupied with the thingy I'm writing this on.

I'm currently using the old computer in the spare room while my dad plots about linux based networks with squid proxies. He will put in a network in the house (something he has been planning on doing for years) and so soon I will be able to update this thing somewhere a little more private (a strange consideration I know considering anyone with enough patience to put up with my whining can read this thing) but its an issue for me - I don't like having people watching me over my shoulder while I write even if its an essay or something.

I'm amazed by this computer though, it is so staggeringly slow that what I'm typing doesn't appear on the screen until about 3 seconds after I type it and the computer has made a variety of thinking noises - at which point entire sentances appear in big blobs. I don't remember this thing being so slow before - I know that it could be that it just seems slow compared to my current PC which has about 4 times the power but I would have remembered it not having enough power to show type in real time with 1 application running.

I'm thinking that perhaps the principles of entropy apply to computers. As a computer gets older and more filled up with random old files and applications - whether deleted or not - the power of the computer will dwindle away until eventually it ceases to have any usable processing power at all. This process is exponential, accelerating towards the end of the process. It seems that in the time that I have been at university this thing has been decaying at a greater rate than it was previously and probably in a relatively short period of time this once mighty machine will crumble off to the great spare bedroom in the sky.

Its a bit sad really seeing as I can remember when this was a towering machine of great funkyness. It also seems to me to be a reason why deep thought takes so long to come up with the answer, probably by the end of the 7 million years it was nearly useless.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A Disappointing Absence of Drama

I'm just writing this before I finally start to pack my computer and generally abandon the room that I have lived in (sort of - see below) for a year. I've got my music* blaring out of my stereo at face meltingly high volume at the moment and the sun is shining (well it was - such is UK weather).

In some of the quieter periods in the packing I stand in my empty house, with my music wafting around and thinking - this situation really needs a voiceover right about now. There are things that need to be said but I have no one to say them to. I need some adult voice to say "that first year of college was a turning point for me. I learned that you don't have to take drugs to be cool" or something along those lines - just a lot less moral and more relevant to my situation.

But this isn't drama.

Although it feels like the end of a TV season I don't think that the cosmic writers want to resolve everything next time around - Some people will probably return in a few seasons time in a shock reappearance and things will be left unresolved for a while...

I suppose Americans would call this a lack of 'closure'.

I call it bad scriptwriting.


* no albums - just MP3s on random, no song more than once, nothing depressing or relevant. I'm in a pretty shitty mood today and I don't want it to adhere to an album I like.