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.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Well I've stuff all my rubbish in black sacks and all my clothes in black sacks and erm. All my sheets and towels in black sacks.

I better remember which one it is I'm supposed to throw away.

It's quite strange seeing everything getting put away; no posters on the wall, no books on the shelves, its all rather sad.

Still, I'll have a nicer house next year with flatmates who might actually spend some time in the house.

By strange coincidence this year my house was barely lived in: Basically I only wrote essays in it and occasionally cooked something there sleeping in my girlfriend's house most of the time, and my other flatmates were either in a similar situation - living with the other half - or they never left their rooms except to go to the toilet (I hope - for the cleaners sake). This all means that I'm not sure what it's going to be like sharing a flat with real people next year, actually people who talk to each other and use the kitchen, living space etc.

I've got to go and gather my things from the kitchen and try and figure out what to do with all my stuff now.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Last night

The last night with the americans has been a massive amount of fun. Drink has been consumed, quiche has been eaten and stories have been told. It wasn't like a wake as have been some of the I'mnevergoingtoseeyouagainboohoo 'parties' I've attended.

It's pretty annoying this whole transitory friends thing. At school and sixth form you get used to having the same group of friends for years; you may decide not to be their friend but it's always a choice, they are always around (even when you'd really wish they weren't). Once you reach the real world (well, university - but it's closer to the real world than school) things change you have to get used to making friends with people who, within a few months of you meeting them, are gone. I know that they will still exist somewhere but


I'm just too tired and confused to think right now.

Ignore any further posts on this subject for a week or two. I'll be able to look rationally at it in a while and write something interesting on the subject but up til then be wary of emoboy ramblings.

I'm just going to listen to some Slim Gailard and shut up.


Blog Taboo

What can I write on this thingy? As far as I can tell there are no restrictions from the blog supplier - other than not using it for child porn or terrorist propaganda - I didn't have any particular plans to do that anyway - so the only restrictions on what I write here are going to be the ones in my own head. I'm not sure, however, what those restrictions should be.

Politics? I don't think this is going to become a political blog. I have political views, obviously, but I'm still young and keep an open mind about things so I'll try not to rant unless I'm certain
in my mind that I'm right. For the purposes of orientation though it should be noted that I'm a medium lefty - not a waving a red flag from the rooftops and writing comically bad songs about 'The Revolution' sort of lefty but not a Blairite either. Probably politics will feature in this thing though - I read papers everyday and keep up with what is going on around me - but it wont be the bulk of the posts.

Religion? Well there isn't much that can really be said about that beyond one or two paragraphs so even if I became a firebrand it probably would feature much. I'm an atheist - an unusual word to use in Britain as most people would describe themselves as 'agnostic' or something along those lines, for the most part in the UK religion has been lowered to the level of a vague superstition - no one really believes except for the occasional zealot - so there isn't really a great deal I can say on the subject beyond the fact that I don't like it. I might expand on my views at some point though as it does interest me - but only in the same capacity that ghosts and alien sightings interest me.

Computer games? I don't think that they are really a subject for discussion here. I've reached the age and level of social ability where they are now damned to live in the dark recesses of my PC. Both those games and my N64 that lives in a drawer somewhere are awaiting the day when computer games are viewed with slightly more social acceptance than public masturbation but I'm not optimistic about that. However anything intelligent on the subject has already been said or is being said by the very, very good Edge Magazine.

Films? Compared to many of my friends my lack of film knowledge of the subject is embarrassing (or at least it would be if their amount of knowledge wasn't embarrassing in itself) so I think if I made any heavy duty statements they'll find out somehow and beat me but I might stretch to the odd review of something I saw that they don't consider worthy of detailed examination (Film studies is English literature for people with short attention spans).

Music? I'm a musician (well nearly - I'm a bass player, which is close) and I have a pretty large amount of music in my possession. I'll probably occasionally burble about some band or another or some new thing I've discovered and dig

Literature? No. I write about that all the time anyway, I don't want to write about it here as well.
If I don't write about any of these things all that is left is my life, which as I'm sure I've mentioned before is pretty damn uneventful. So I'll write whatever bollocks appears in my head. This being a good example of that method, to be honest I'm just killing time until the fairly oddparents comes on.


Yes my punctuation is awful. Correct me if you want. This can become a challenge site for the hardcore pedant.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Artsfest/Can I go solo?

I spent a large quantity of Saturday at a thingy called artsfest on campus. It was quite amusing but a little disturbing in places; the early acts on the music stage were quite appalling - the worst being a bunch of ugly scallybirds singing 'a medley* of sixties hits' which was making the campus bunnies run scared onto the nearest traps. But later on things improved as the acts old enough to have grown some facial hair started to appear. After the appallingly bad scallies and co there were some patchy local classical groups. On the other stages (tents) it was interesting seeing my friend Matt playing his violin - he is usually very secretive about it - and some teenagers smashing bins for a reason (unorthodox percussion ensemble). But the day was stolen by a godawful African drums and choir thingy.

Don't get me wrong - when done well those groups can be great. It was in a group very much like that that I got my groove; my dad took me and my brother to go drumming with this bunch of funny west African guys with a brilliant skill for the crazy percussive polyrhythm that you get in the music of Nigeria, Ghana etc.

This group, however, was a assortment of greying middle-class white women dressed in African robes singing out of tune accompanied by a group of greying middle-class white men playing exactly the same beat on identical drums. It wasn't so much bad as crushingly embarrassing - they must be someone's parents.

After seeing one of the better bands I was talking to the performer, discussing his absence of a bass player, my personal instrument, my absence of any other things to do etc** but to no avail. Something that he said though got me thinking: When I was waxing lyrical about absence of band, boredom of, for bass players he said "well you can't go solo can you... "

Can I?

It has been done before***. But so far only by blokes so far up themselves that they can only see where they are going with a periscope. Even though my year of English literature has made me able to use phrases like ‘Pseudo Marxist Political Subtext’ - or similar bollocks - without feeling like a complete pillock I don't think it has got me to the "I'm really expressing myself!" level yet. Does this mean I won’t be able to do it, or that I could actually make music that actually sounded good rather than only being of interest to bass perverts?

It being a sunny day and me being rather intoxicated I decided on the latter possibility.

However this morning**** I realise there is quite a major flaw in this plan for musical world domination through the medium of the bass clef.

I have very little talent.

Yes, though the idea of showing all those guitarists that bass players are people too***** appeals to me greatly, the fact is that I can't sing and play bass at the same time - although the fact that I can't sing at all makes that point pretty academic really. That coupled with the fact that I'm not exactly an extrovert and I can't write lyrics at all means that I would make a really lousy solo artist...

Back to looking for a new band I suppose. There are worse things in life I'm sure; like not having a guitarist to take the blame for your mistakes or a singer to distract people from your complete lack of charisma.

I'm content lurking at the back of the stage looking moody.

- Ben

* The word medley, whether referring to food, music or anything else, invariably means shite - its one of those laws of the universe.

** The musical equivalent of taking his keys and dropping them into my cleavage.

*** It has. At least with the bass as the primary instrument - listen to something like Tommy the Cat by Primus.

**** By morning I mean afternoon. Obviously. Because not only am I a student but I've also finished work for this year so the likelihood of me getting up before the crack of noon is approximately zero.

***** I can't speak for all of them obviously - I'm pretty sure that the guy from Metallica is a chimp.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

One Year

I've been at university for one academic year now, strange that. Its one of the one of the weirder realisations that comes with finishing the last exam (the others mostly involving the amount of alcohol that you plan to imbibe) and has got me wondering about things, and, you know... stuff.

I was trying to come up with a list of what things I have learned this year. There is the obvious academic stuff like how to fake references, how to make it look like you've read a book you have never even seen and of course secret and arcane knowledge available only to the enlightened such as the location of the history office or what a room number like RXQ207.34A-B means.

However it is the other things, the side effects of having to live on your own and make your way in the world that I am more interested in writing about today. When you get to university you don't realise just how little you know; the most apparently obvious things can come as a great shock to you. For example what a spin dryer looks like; my lack of knowledge in that regard caused many months of damp clothes and stinkyness.

Other things I have learned (in no particular order):

The drinking activities at university are organised with military efficiency, especially during fresher's week

...But the academic departments couldn't run a bath and with most of the subjects the entire department is run by a single part-time secretary.

Ducks are surprisingly violent animals

Americans are fun and they aren't nearly as annoying as you've been led to believe

They do, however, believe that we all have appaling teeth. (not entirely unjustified)

Matt has Gay eyebrows

Rugby players are the same everywhere. You have to use pictures, big writing and colourful diagrams to explain to them how to use doors, urinals, pens, etc...

Bunnies are fun and the ones born on campus have even less fear of humans than london pidgeons

The vast majority of student bands are really, appalingly bad and the music played on campus is a eclectic range of everything from The Libertines to Razorlight

Whitstable is a nice place although walking back across the countryside at night will give you the screaming heebie jeebies

If you look at the statue thingy on the hill outside keynes college from the side it looks like a gigantic penis

I can't think of anything else right now and what I've already written is rubbish so I think I'd better shut up and go and do my laundry.

- Ben

Thursday, June 02, 2005


The reason for this blog being titled as it is:

Partly a pretty damn obvious reference to Douglas Adam's masterwork but also the context its was drifting around my head in the day I started this thingy. You see that morning I'd been sitting in a hall the size of an american aircraft hangar - everything is bigger in america apparently and, if you believe some European activists, uses more petrol (even their mobile phones) - thinking about just how little work I have done this year and quite frankly panicing like a chav who has run out of burberry tracksuits.

As I stared in transfixed horror at the front page of the question booklet I was struck by how very dull and boring it is; all plain paper and black writing. What, I decided, it needed was something that would help improve the general state of mind of the participants, like DON'T PANIC written in large friendly letters on the front cover - It would get a smug knowing chuckle from the enlightened and have a calming effect on those who are unfamiliar with the Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy. I wonder if its been done before?

Currently I'm am happily avoiding thinking about the next exam I have (tomorrow afternoon) and trying to decide whether to bother posting this inane ramble or not.

I think you can guess which side won that argument.

- Ben

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I have a blog.



don't worry people, that isn't (hopefully) representative of the standard of witty comment that shall shortly be appearing on this rather unimpressive piece of webspace. I plan to expand the minds of you - the reader, whoever that might be (I'm guessing insomniacs or stalkers) - with my staggeringly mundane life or, failing that, give myself somewhere to write pointless drivel that no one has the patience to listen to me say.

I'm not going to bother going into any personal details here because I doubt very much that anyone will read this that doesn't know who I am already.

I think the ingredients of a good blog appear to be either good, imaginative writing or an interesting life. I fall short on both of those requirements so I don't think that I'll be winning any awards any time in the impending future. The best you can hope for if you choose to frequent this blog of ill repute is a reasonably frequently updated account of what, if anything is going on in my life (or my head, or both) with enough naughty words to make it interesting.

- Ben