Wednesday, November 30, 2005

words again

I mentioned words at the bottom of the Catch 22 thing, somewhere or other. But I suppose it's just another case of 'No more words'. Fucking words. Simple little things that can be so elusive. The linguistic turn? I think not.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Catch 22 Samaritans

"a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon [an injured man]; and when he saw him, he felt compassion and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own breast and took him to an inn and took care of him."

You see the Samaritan is in quite an extreme situation here - many of us would, I hope, help someone who had been beaten up. But, such simple acts of kindness and giving are hardly testing are they. There is no internal conflict - the Samaritan could make this guy's life incomparably better, even save it, by his actions. More than that though, the Samaritan has no emotional connection with the action afterwards. It could be anonymous. Some might see this as making the action more noble.

But would it be? In a modern context, which is harder: throwing a quid into the hat of some guy who sleeps rough and you see every day on the way to work, or sitting down and chatting to him once, not giving him anything, and realising how little you can do to actually help? Personally I'd chuck the quid any day. Most of us would I think. Chucking the quid makes me think I'm helping - maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but I can persuade myself I am. By talking to him, I can't keep up the illusion.

The thing is, with the homeless guy on the street, you have a decision to make: you can chuck the quid and persuade yourself you're making a difference (maybe you are) and he'll smile and it'll all be fine. When people you know and you love are hurting there's no choice - you can't just throw the metaphorical quid, it would be too fatuous. Fatuous pound after fatuous pound yearns to be let loose, but you can't just throw them. It's dismissive. And this is suddenly important. 'Dismissive' is not the image that you're trying to portray - you're trying to be helpful and supportive but taking the easy option too many times before has meant you don't have the facilities to deal with the situation when it must be addressed. I'm not saying we should all go and talk to homeless people on the streets so we're better at dealing with personal problems, there's something nastily cynical, utterly impractical and slightly comic about that (no, picture it ... There you go) - I just bemoan the fact that it's when you really need to help, when you really want to help, that suddenly the options collapse into one: a meagre arsenal of words and things and hugs must be thrown, in utter futility, against a wall only time can breach.

What a long (and by the end utterly pretentious) way of putting a simple fact: it's easier to help those you don't know, because there's no emotional connection and you can pretend you're helping when you're not. Those you really really want to help require something it is impossible to give. That sucks.

Music: Kid A (something keeps drawing me back, I think it might just be the first few seconds of the first track, which are so wonderfully silky and indulgent)

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Weekend Away

Why do the exciting things happen in Oxford while I'm away. Well, one exciting thing - CHEESE. The Oxford Food Society was giving a cheese party last weekend, but I was in Cambridge. Which, I hasten to add, was the better place to be so I shouldn't complain. ACtually yes I should, why can't all exciting things happen every other weekend when I'm in Oxford? HMMMM?

Anyway, Cambridge was wonderful as ever. Rather cultured I thought too. I went to a classical concert on the Friday night during which I came to the conclusion that VIOLINS SOUND HORRID. The standard of the player does not have any impact on this at all. The sound violins make ruins classical music for me, it's all screechy and horrid. Yes, all the time. No, not just some of the time. Forever. Although it wasn't quite as bad in the Sibelius. I also came to the conclusion that classical music is just a bit complicated for me, and perhaps this is why I don't appreciate it. Essentially I don't understand. The Sibelius (again) particularly confused me.

I also went to St. John's Carol Service. I recognised 1 of the many many carols/hymns etc. (although don't they have to be called Winter Songs or something now? Policitcal correctness gone MAD! to quote a certain C4 comedy) but that didn't really matter, it was all fun nonetheless. I like carol services and I like chapels. Hurrah. Hope you all heard me singing when it was broadcast on Radio3 yesterday.

Apart from that I ate some yummy things - at Anatolia (v good Turkish place on Bridge Street in Cam - lovely pickled chillis) and also care of Sarah and her truffle making expertise - I'm good at rolling them in cocoa, but not much else. Thus, I suppose, I had as good a culinary time as I would have done had I been in Oxford - better actually, considering the yummy carbonara Sarah also managed to knock up with no effort at all. Cooking would be a good thing to be great at. I shall be giving it my best shot at Sausage and Mash Monday tonight. Anyone welcome if they give me a ring before I buy the sausages or at least bring their own!

Also met up with David, who was up to see the Footlights Panto, and we went up a tower and had some tea. Which was nice.

Current Listening (dubious): Boroughs in Arms: being a collection of charming choons connected by thier references to towns and cities - Various Artists (SFTW004)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

No more words?

Feeling a little low today, although everything has actually gone surprisingly well. The archivist was lovely, very friendly and helpful, and has done a lot of work on the appropriate fields so that's nice. Going to and from Bedford went smoothly, and I didn't even get lost trying to find the archive. I didn't actually look at anything because of wanting to be back in Oxford at a reasonable time, and I felt a little odd diving in head first when I don't really know what I should look at first. Anyway, in terms of work, today has been rather better than the last week in general. But But But, still feeling a little low. Don't think I'm communicating with people very well at the moment.Not sure I know what that means really, but I think it's true. Finding it hard to know what to say to people - conversations I'm in just sort of fade out. I think I might have run out of conversation. Could I have just run out of words to say? Talking is really hard.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

wasted week + tomato soup

Not a week in which I have been wasted, but a week which I have wasted. Since last Thursday I have attempted to do a systematic survey of a journal to attempt to discover trends in urban historiography over time. Great idea you might think (actually I suspect only I would think that, but there we go) - but only if you do it of the right journal. The difference between the Journal of Urban History (an American one, and pretty useless) and the journal Urban History (the British one, and a lot more appropriate) might strike everyone else as pretty obvious but not me evidently. So, back to square one on that.

For the last two days, I have had a small family of hedgehogs lodged somewhere towards the back of my throat, dancing about like the world was ending. (would you dance if the world was ending - I wouldn't, I'd go to a pub and drink beer, otherwise the weird beam thing that I can't remember the name of would kill me - that was meant to be an elaborate HHGTTG reference, but given I can't remember the name of the beam, it falls a little flat.) So yes, my throat, has been sore. So I've spent the last 2 days doing very little.

Was forced out of snotty coma to go to a tutorial today, and then on to rector's drinks and the pub quiz - all very tiring. Piggy kept saying wank and minger-wank at Rector's drinks, which was funny. I have a childish sense of humour. We talked to the rector about barbed wire. He thought it wasn't very aesthetic. I think that's probably missing the point of barbed wire but decided it wasn't the time to mention that.

My corridor smells of tomato soup, and has done all day. Initially I welcomed this as a sign my cold was relenting, then I welcomed it because in general I like the taste of tomato soup, but now it is beginning to scare, confuse and irritate. Actually the smell of tomato soup isn't that nice, it's a little sweet and sickly, like ramming a tomato ketchup bottle up your nose; the smell of tomato soup shouldn't hang about for a day; how do I know it wasn't around for longer than the day - perhaps it's been smelling of tomato soup for days and I haven't noticed because of my cold. In which case, who is obsessed by tomato soup? Or perhaps I smell of tomato soup when I have a cold, and it's just a strange coincidence that I still smell of tomato soup now that my cold is beginning to relent. In sum, I wish it wouldn't smell of tomato soup any more.

Cambridge beckons imminantly. As does Bedford. Hurrah for the X5. I hope you've all been reading your 10 tips on travelling on the bus with Dan.Another 10 may follow soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

comedy criticism (the post previously known as 'peeping once more')

Last night I posted and it wasn't very, well, very comprehensible (as one kind person pointed out). So I'll try again.

I am quickly coming to the opinion that the best comedy criticism you can find on the web comes from If anyone else has found any other forum that indulges in intelligent comedy type chat, then please let me know. I won't go into a rant about cookdandbombd's persistent negativity or their strange Partridge hero-worship now as I'm losing my way again, so I think I ought to stop (I blame my sore-throat).

At the beginnning, this was merely meant to be a post asking whether people enjoyed episode 2 of peep show (I didn't get to see it), and commenting that the cookdandbombd reaction was mixed, so let's stick with that as a summary. But, as I say, a mixed reaction from them is praise indeed.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blogging: theory and practice

I realise that, in having a blog I am part of a cultural phenomenon; or perhaps more aptly I am jumping on a bandwagon. There must be hundreds of thousands of blogs and bloggers in the world spewing forth on a rich variety of topics from as many different perspectives as they have thoughts: established writers play with thoughts and ideas, established journalists practice their trade, conspiracy theorists spread their nutty paranoia, movie buffs give us all access to film reviews, music fans similarly discuss their latest purchases, etc etc. The list is endless. So what function does blogging perform. Why do we blog? Exaggerated pride is not something humans instinctively warm to: we call it arrogance, we shy away, we cringe. Nevertheless so many of us indulge in it by blogging, we openly declare our opinions, as if anyone else should give a shit.

But is that really what happens? Perhaps it is all about self-enquiry. Are we writing the blogs for ourselves or our readers? Are we attempting to understand our own lives a little better by documenting them in such a bizzare manner? Essentially, surely, most blogs take the form of a diary, and traditionally these have been kept secret from everyone else. Are blogs no more than edited diaries, placed in the public domain to demonstrate something about ourselves. Are they a true reflection of the writer or are they merely an impression the writer is attempting to portray. A little bit of both will inevitably be the answer. I think I personally loike blogging because I like ordering my thoughts about various subjects. Ranting is something I enjoy and, this way, it might mean I don't bore people in person by ranting quite so much. In practice I think that's bollocks because it'll actually just mean my rants are properly formed before I unleash them in person. I blog so that I can work out what I think about things. For example, as I write this I am idiscovering what I think of blogging. Essentially I htink that it could be quite a nasty habit, and has to be treated in the right way. Blogs should be from the heart, and they should be opinionated, but they should also be lighthearted: that's the essence of the genre surely.

Maybe, however, there is a potentially more serious element to blogging. Are blogs leading some sort of publishing revolution? Are traditional published media being undermined? Blogs, in a sense are positioned in between established media. They are pretty immediate, and yet they can also be well-researched and nuanced. Blogs are a method by which one's personal opinion can be released and avaliable to a HUGE number of people in a TINY amount of time. For a historian, this is quite incredible. The difficulties historians have in establishing the nature of public opinion in previous centuries is significant, and the difficulties faced by those who wanted to publicise their opinions was equally trying. Now, there is no such issue. The internet is a huge archive of thought, and just like any other archive, is therefore intensly provocative.

On the internet we can be bombarded with thought - the filters that have naturally restricted the spread of opinion (such as distance, cost of publishing, language and many more) are being slowly broken down. Does this mean that we take in any more information than we used to? Does this make us better informed about the world and the variety of opinions it holds? Possibly, although in essence most of us are hard to persuade and will stick to our opinion in the face of ardent criticism. Nevertheless, we are now a society which respects individual abilities as much as institutional stature, and as such many will question why The Sunday Times should be any more accurate or considered than an individual working from their bedroom with this amazing tool the internet. At the same time, we are still a society which suspends its disbelief when it sits infront of a screen, be it tv or computer - image is not reality in this sense. The internet and reality are separated in most people's minds. It isn't reality, it's like a parallel reality which comments on the actual one, but doesn't play a significant part in our interaction. It is interesting that email has come on much faster than websites here, for purely pragmatic reasons. Back to the point though.

Blogging bypasses editors, writers don't have to wait for their piece to be accepted, they can just post it and there it is. In a way this is democratic journalism. Of course, just like any other sort of democracy, the reality is a lot less useful and, in fact desireable than the theory of it. In the first place the majority of blogs and the journalism on blogs isn't any good - after all most of us are just amateurs fiddling about and it's very difficult to tell, quickly, whether a blog is just lucid twaddle (like this one) or thoughtful and professional journalism. I don't have time to read hundreds of thousands of blogs telling me what they think when I can't easily see if the blogger has any clue what is going on. The Sunday Times, The Economist, The New York Times etc, are all badges of quality. Yes, there will be blogs out there that are of an equivalent standard to these illustrious publications in various aspects of their production - there will be blogs written by people who write for these publications - but the majority aren't. The majority are written by bored students, lonely teenagers, and those with a chip on their shoulder and fluff in their head and these can basically be dismissed as serious or a challenge to established media. We are lead to believe that everyone has increasingly busy lives, and all this information and opinion bombarding them on the internet will force them back to the safety of print. You know where you are with a newspaper - most people don't know where to start on the internet.


To tidy or not to tidy. That is the question of the day. Not in a practical sense, you understand - the answer there is obvious - oh I'll do it later - I'm talking theory here. Jo, Piggy and I had a wonderful chat last night about the relative merits of a room being tidy. For the Pig, it needs to be tidy so that he can rest his eyes. Personally, I find my eyes darting around his room looking for something to, well, just looking for something. Anything. There's no lovely texture of clutter than your eye can luxuriate in.

I think mess should be viewed pragmatically. Obviously if a room is such a mess that it's impeding its proper use then something needs to be done about it. Things should be put in their place if their place is the best place for them. So often it isn't though. Things should go where they are needed. Thus, on a cold night what's the point of going to bed with your dressing-gown on a hook all the way across the room, you'll only get cold when attempting to get it in the morning? Why not have it on the floor by your bed for ease of access?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

you got it over the wall, but nowhere near my flesh

Ah, I love bad online games, and bowman (with which I can't be bothered to link) is very bad. It's like a simplified version of a rather wonderful game I used to play when I was about 9 which involved being a gorilla ontop of a series of skyscrapers chucking exploding bananas at each other.

Piggy and I spent a couple of minutes sprucing up his blog so that he can start posting again with pride. I'm particularly pleased with the discovery of the smiling pig picture. Hopefully he'll get on with it a little and get some of his medieval madness back on the internet.

The quiz went rather well tonight. I might start posting past rounds on this site if I can work out how to. We had a record turnout tonight, with 112 people taking part, hurrah for me. It's something I'm doing that is actually a success. Sorry, this has beena bit of a post without a purpose. I'll try to think of something interesting to say by tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The final countdown (to death)

Hello, hello everyone.

My bit of intrusive software (see bottom of the blog) which counts how many of you there are suggests there are more than at one time I thought. Not necessarilly that many repeat visitors, but some nonetheless, and those that do come back come back on a daily basis. Like Blockbusters in 1983, which was the first daily quiz show. Not Countdown, that started bi-weekly. So now I feel slightly shy in the burning lights of 7 people a day's gaze.

Anyway, I had a great, and entirely pretentious idea for a blog bit about post-modernism that Philip and I came up with about 20 mins ago in the middle of ranting, but I've totally forgotten it. So you're all very lucky people.

I will now talk briefly about knifehandchop etc (which appears to have broken my blog a bit. Once I can be bothered, I'll fix it.) and then I'll move on to death. 3 men, 3 laptops. Lot of samples. That's about it for the gig. Nailbomb cult (he described himself wonderfully on one bit of promo stuff as "spaz-riot") was fine if a little samey, while nervous_testpilot (I believe it's important to have the underscore) was a bit early 90s dance thingy. at one point he appeared to have sampled, The Final Countdown. Knifehandchop was wicked; it went on a bit though, and buy the end I just wanted to go home, especially as I had slightly randomly been left in charge of selling his merchandise for the last 15 mins or so. Hadn't sold anything, but felt dubious about it all anyway. I am probably going to try to get some knifehandchop at some point - probably better on cd than live.

Death. One of my old old friends, Rory Hamilton, died about a week and a half ago. Or rather I heard he'd died about a week and a half ago. I don't want him to have died. I didn't keep in regular contact with him, and I hadn't seen him since he was 10 or 11, but I still didn't want him to die. Death is a disgusting thing. I only wish the cheesy sentiments were true, and that however temporal the physical world might be, memory is eternal. Of course, that's wrong. Eventually I will forget him I'm sure. I just don't want to. I don't want to have the option of forgetting him. Not coping with it nearly as well as I should.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Peep Show having been watched, and opinion from all over having been garnered, it seems to have been a success, which is good. I certainly enjoyed it. It's got jokes, which is more than can be said about most comedy around at the moment on tv, and it's got characters you can talk about and care about, which is also pretty rare.If anyone saw it and would like to comment, I'd be really interested.

Off to see knifehandchop, nervous test pilot and the nailbomb cult tonight. Electronic madness will undoubtedly ensue. Am on the lime and soda I think. trying not to drink too much beer. I forgot about this briefly last night, when I drank a little too much beer. Never mind.

Finally, chicken mayo. What is the perfect chicken mayo? Does it involve sweetcorn? No. It involves chicken and mayo. Nothing else. Certainly not celery. Will people in sandwich shops please learn this.

Listening to Labradford as a contrast to what I'm about to be assaulted with.

Breathing and Buses

Looking at Alastiar's blog has changed my breathing patterns, which I don't like. I am now constantly thinking about breathing. Like Alastair, this was something I did a lot when I was younger, but hadn't for some time until now. It has made my quality of life worse, and I'm sure made my breathing louder. I've never been able to breathe very effectively through only my nose, it's always made me nervous, and so have always breathed through my mouth, which apparently isn't what you're meant to do. I seem to remember this was mentioned on one of my very early school reports from my frankly odd first school.

The last couple of days has bbeen spent mostly on buses and eating. I was thinking about bus etiquette. So here goes with "Ten ways not to annoy Dan if you ever get on a bus which he happens to be on too".

1. Know where the bus is going before you get on board - it says on the front of the bus and most bus stops (particularly for long-distnace journeys) have reasonable maps. The number of times people get on a bus going in the wrong direction is absurd.I've never done this, and I'm crap at Geography.

2. Never, ever, try to make it stop in a place it is not meant to stop. (you can check where it will stop preferably beforehand on the internet, but if in any doubt, checking with the driver when you get on is just about acceptable, as long as you don't argue with him about it. It won't change anything.) People getting up and going to the front and saying "any chance of you stopping just on the corner here" when it isn't one of their stops annoys me intensely. It's essentially saying "My comfort and ease is worth the rest of the bus being held up". They're trying to turn the bus into a taxi. If they want a door to door service, get a taxi, drive, cycle, crawl, skip, whatever, but public transport goes through nodal points where you get on and get off. That is that. It's part of the deal.

3. If the bus driver says he won't accept your ticket, or your student card or won't let you on the bus cos you look funny. Accept this. Arguing with him holds the bus up, puts the bus driver in a bad mood, and is never, ever going to succeed. It's like trying to persuade a barman to accept your ID when he has already said no. It isn't going to happen and makes you look like a tit.

4. When sitting down, try not to create too much commotion. People are relaxing, sleeping, reading, trying not to be sick, and a huge lump of human gallumphing around the aisle trying to take of it's coat and put it's bag in the overhead locker for a ten min journey down the road annoys. This is especially true for those who are trying not to be sick. In order not to be sick, they are looking straight ahead, focussing on what is happening outside the coach through the front window. Commotion breaks this concentration and gives a nauseous sense of dislocation. Of course people need to put things away and get settled, it's a case of minimising fuss. Have your book/paper/cds in your hands or antoher bag if you're going to a) want them in the journey and b)put your bag overhead.

5.If there is a spare two person seat, don't sit next to anyone. It's not friendly, it's freaky.

6. a) Never talk to anyone, especially not yourself.
b)Never, ever, ask people what they think of your clothes. This happened to me yesterday when a rather overweight lady attempted to show me the shoes she was wearing, in the process she got half-way into a horrid yoga position which didn't suit her short skirt and mammoth thighs. The shoes weren't special by the way.

7. If you have to sit next to someone never read a broadsheet newspaper. They are too wide.

8. Never drop a bottle or can of anything on the floor. This is very very annoying, and it always seems to gravitate towards my seat and then stay next to me for the trip making it look like it was my fault. If I pick it up, it's like admitting guilt so I never do and am in a foul mood when I get off.

9. Never eat anything that smells nice - other people around you will be hungry and wish death upon you.

10. Don't laugh too much, it scares those who can't hear the rest of the conversation.

Yes I am petty and yes I have too much time on my hands on Sundays when the library isn't open.

Music: Arcade Fire - Funeral

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rant 1

Somehow time has slipped by this week without me doing much in it, and yet I feel happy about how everything is going, which is a good thing. Nonetheless, this graduate work gives me a strange directionless feeling. I'm much more knowledgable about the subject now, and am beginning to get to the stage where the random footnotes are references to things I've already read, and thought about so that they actually add lots to the body of the text. In fact, I was thinking the other day that I could almost reconstruct some of the general introductory/historiography chapters of books simply by judicious use of their footnotes. Oh look, he's refered to Borsay there, oh look to Clark there, thus this must be his line of argument. All a little bit of a silly situation. So I've been delving into historical geography and German sociology to try to give my thoughts on towns a little more body. I've ended up confusing myself quite a bit, but understanding things better which is good. Still don't really see my aim at the end of the day. But anyway, on to the rant.

Haven't had much about politics in these things yet, and I do think about it quite a lot, so I suppose I should, especially considering the importance of the vote the toher day in the Commons. Blair's first defeat. Big news. But I watched Prime Minister's Questions on the day of the vote and Blair was brilliant. Normally I'm a Howard fan, at least in terms of debating if not at all in terms of policy, but Blair was on top form, and nearly persuaded me of the 90 day thing.

Now I'm not a police officer, and I'm not involved in any anti-terrorism squad or anything like that, and I have no idea whether 90 days is the amount of time they need to gather evidence or whether it is a slightly arbitrary number giving the police a little bit of leeway. It strikes me, however, that the vast majority of those who voted against the bill aren't polce officers in anti-terrorism squads either. Irrespective of that, it is obviously their duty as MPs to scrutinise the reports the police give and act according to that scrutiny rather than accepting it as gospel. However, they haven't regected the PRINCIPLE, the extension of the time a suspect can be held without charge, they have regected the DETAIL. Now this seems absurd. OK, regect a proposal if it goes against your principle and you don't think that's the way the government should be going. But they've regected the proposal merely because the number that the experts produce seems wrong to them, laymen in this context. Essentially they're saying, NO, 90 days is an arbitrary number you've picked out of a hat (going against the remarkable body of evidence produced so lucidly by Blair) - you can't do it like that, instead what you've got to do is accept our judgement and an arbitrary figure we produce. Personally, I feel instinctively uncomfortable about extending the period someone can be held without charge, but if I were to accept the principle, I'd certainly accept an expert view on how long it should be extended for.

At the same time, there are checks on it. Going before a high-court judge every 7 days. The much famed "sunset clause" etc. I'd rather restrict someone's liberties for 90 days than be blown up. I'd rather restrict someone's liberties for 90 days than be more likely to be blown up. If I get blown up, my liberties are pretty pissing restricted. You could tell Howard was struggling when he started saying it would marginalise the Islamic community. Jesus Michael that was a stupid point if ever I heard one.

All the "police state", "thin end of the wedge" people either don't know what a police state is or don't understand that to be the thin end of a wedge a piece of legisaltion has to give away some principle or some political leverageto oust the principle on another occassion. The principle has been ceded anyway with the bill that was passed directly after Blair's defeat. And in terms of leverage, it would have been no easier to increase the time limit or restrictions at a later date on account of the bill having gone through. It doesn't change the system at all, it is not the thin end of the wedge unless there is future concensus in the Houses of Parliament that the larger end of the wedge is what is needed/wanted - in which case it wouldn't have benefitted from the initial passage anyway and would just be another, bigger wedge.

The more Blair is PM the less I like him, but I think he was caught between a rock and a hard place on this particular bill: he had ot go with the police;s recommendations, and they were obviously going to be unpopular. I feel sorry for the poor guy, especially as I thought he was very persuasive. I don't know if 90 days was right, but it might have been. I think there's very little prospect of 28 days (or whatever the new proposal is) being right. So there.

Can't stop listening to Kid A at the moment.

Monday, November 07, 2005


lookie here everyone. My bro's been nominated for an award.

That's very exciting isn't it?

Everyone must watch Peep Show this Friday too - 10pm.

Writing the quiz for tomorrow, so no time to chat.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

just a quickie... say that you can now post comments even if you don't have a blog. I found the option at last. Hurrah for me. Oh and I've been bothered to change the clock, so now you can all see exactly when I posted my comments. That'll be nice for you won't it?

It's been raining today, and ther's a lovely sound somewhere near my room when it rains, which I presume is a deficient gutter. It sounds like a mini-waterfall and almost persuades me to keep my window open despite the elements. The tree outside my wondow is odd: the top brancehes are now leaf-free, the middle ones are all brown and the bottom ones are still lush and green - it seems to be in 3 seasons simultaneously. I wonder what that must feel like.

Off to the Port Mahon tonight for some free music. Can't say fairer than that. Report tomorrow.

Coodlabop, chucklemunters.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

slippy, sloppy, slippery

The last few days have been days of extreme. On Thursday alone I went straight from the plush academic splendour of Duke Humphrey's room in the Bod to watching bands in the sweet, sweaty, smoky atmosphere of the Cellar. Evidently it was a day, or at least a night, of sybillance too. The Evenings were fantastic. The beer? Average. Still better than Eagle and Child. It's amazing the contrasts a day in Oxford can hold.

A musing of a long time ago has come back to haunt me recently. What is the difference in meaning between the word slippy, and the word slippery? Is there a difference? Perhaps there is no such word as slippy. But then again, Underworld reckon you can be Born Slippy. So there. Can't work it out myself.

Last ngiht was a bit of a joke at the pub. I was being very clumsy, breaking glasses, knocking things over and generally looking like it was my first shift in a long time, which I suppose it sort of was. First busy one anyway. Waking up this morning I recognise it as having been merely the opening gambit of a cold, so that explains it. I wasn't alone though last night, Wilko managed to kick over the full slops bucket, all of the bar floor. This was not good. At all. It took me ages to mop. Ages. I ended up sweeping most of the water up before mopping. In the end I was rather proud of the result.

The phone ringing incident: I was plagued by a fax machine that kept ringing me every 2 mins or so all of Friday morning. Ended up going for a long walk to preserve sanity. Don't know why I didn't just unplug the 'phone. Oh well.

Music of the moment? Still Cale.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

reviewing, writing and beer

My review of Cazals + Half Rabbits + Kinderleader has just gone up on, and from the one response on the messagebords, it appears to have been appreciated. Going to review The Evenings EP launch tonight. Reviewd them so often, I'm not sure I'll be able to think of anything new to say, but nevermind. It's wonderful reviewing again; it gives me an oppoortunity to write for an audience who isn't a historian which will be fun. And it gets me guestlist tickets. Woop!

Of course, there's also my creative writing thing: the book I'm attempting to construct with Tervs. He's created a page - the first to arrive since our holiday in Wales in the summer and I'm thinking about trying to create one this afternoon. It might actually get going again. It's not that I think it's an amazing book; I'm not at all sure it's any good at all. All I know is that I like writing, and I'm proud of bits of it at least. Perhaps we need to get to an ending reasonably soon and try to go through it and seive out what is worth saving and then try to build again from that. I mean, how do you write a book. We just started and are waiting to see where it goes, but there must be a better way of doing things. Any ideas?

Beer. Now I'm a beer snob, but the quality of beer in Oxford is really really poor. Last night I went to two of the better known beer pubs, The Lamb and Flag and Far From The Madding Crowd, and had two distinctly average pints. The one in Far From THe Madding was distinctly nasty - not green like a pint I had in The bird and babe the other day, but flat and tired. The Turf and The White Horse (particularly since Andy has started working there) and now and then The Bear (although I had a horrid pint of Hancocks there not too long ago) are the only pubs in Oxford worth drinking bitter at on a regular basis. Even those with a small range are doing them badly. The variation in taste between a pint of Abbott at The Turf and at say, The Grapes, is astonishing. Having said that,I had a pint of Hooky at The Cellar of all places (yes, they have a proper pump now), and it was perfectly good and average. It seemed a little strange drinking a nice pint and listening to a band, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. WIll be going there again tonight to review, and will test the beer at the same time.

Toodles. (to steal a Tervism)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

why isn't cheese a vegetable?

If you could count cheese as a vegetable, it would make doing 5 in a day a lot easier. It's slightly worrying from my point of view that when attempting to work out how much fruit/veg I have eaten today, cheese came second. After a pickled cucumber. I shit you not. Oh well, who needs health anyway.

Last night was fun. It was the Turf Tavern Halloween party, and involved a treasure hunt to win 365 pints of beer. Some valient efforts, but, perhaps predictably, Dr. Martin and Andy won it, despite being stuck for over an hour on one clue. Dave, Heather and I had fun trying to get people to bob for apples, and do a tomb-bola (do you see? do you see what we did?) and some "stick your hand in a box and get a prize" varient game. Wasn't packed, but all happy, and I got a load of t-shirts and stuff out of it, and a new wallet, which I needed.

Anyway, what did I promise last time? Oh yes, music. Well I listened to My Bloody Valentine's Isn't anything a couple of times and have put it back in its box and hidden it so I won't be tempted to listen to it again: hard work, and not worth it. The John Cale is awesome however. Swiftly becoming one of my fave albums, and staunchly refusing to leave the stereo.

tonight: quiz night. Hurrah.

I have an archivist in Bedford.

I have a new sort of cake (apple and blackberry). Just watch those fruit and veg portions go!

Anyway, library calls. Byee.