Something for the Weakened

Archive for 2004

Pun Ho

December 30th, 2004 by

Hi kids. Not been quite as active this week as I’d hoped. The crushing depression that normally descends when New Year comes around hit me a week early, paralysing me and making me unable to do, well, much really. It’s any kind of annual anniversary (not that there are many non-annual ones, I suppose) that does it really. Any opportunity to look over the last year’s achievements fills me with misery, mainly due to their sheer absence in my own case. Hopefully I’m over it now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again in the next couple of days. *sigh* Anyhow, I hope all your Festivuses were cheerful and that you all won your trials of strength. Watched House of Flying Daggers earlier – kind of fun, but a little slow in places – and it started me wondering about crossover possibilities between classic fiction and martial arts. The Taming of the Shruiken, Much Ado About Nunchuks, Wuthering Fights (okay, that one is quite weak), that sort of thing. Any more suggestions would be greatly accepted. Also came up with the idea of the Virginia Monologues, in which a number of women called Virginia chat about their fannies. In the state of Virginia. Hmm, needs work.

Eve

December 24th, 2004 by

Good day to you all, my little blogophiles! Sincere apologies for my absence over the past week or so. What with all the festivities and me being great ’n’ everything, I haven’t had a dry night to myself in almost a fortnight (‘dry’ in an alcoholic sense). Plus with the unpleasantness of the Christmas rush on top of that, I simply haven’t had the time to grace you with my illustrious presence online. But returned I have and with a vengeance at that. Though apparently even less of an idea about how to construct a sentence. Posts will hopefully flow thick and fast over the next week, as frankly I’m not going to have a lot else to do (which is nice). Probably nothing tomorrow though, so I shall take this moment to wish you all a very merry Festivus. I hope you’ve all got your poles out. Good night Vienna.

A Hidden Evil?

December 19th, 2004 by

Scarves. Wonderful things, infinitely useful, particularly in cold weather. But I have found a sinister undertone to them. Being a speccy twat with a loathing of cold faces, I often find scarf wearing useful. The thing is that it takes a certain level of artistry to wear both scarf and specs. To achieve optimum warmth, the ordinary 20-20 visioned individual would hike their scarf up as high as possible, covering the most sur-face area possible. We, the unseeing masses are unable to do this. Covering the mouth is possible, but if the nose disappears below fabric, trouble follows. Instantaneous spectacle steaming will almost certainly follow. With the scarf covering only the mouth you have two options; breathe through mouth (warming all areas under the scarf and some just above it), or breathe through the nose (making you look normal). Neither of these lead to any moisture developing on the eyeglass (unless done with extraordinary ferocity). But when the scarf covers the nose, there is no way to prevent it. Exhaling through any orifice is instantly channelled directly upwards, the scarf acting like a flume, instantly covering any possibility of vision through your face mounted viewing assistants. A design flaw, or something more sinister? I’m not sure, but I have my suspicions . . .

Writings From The Ether

December 18th, 2004 by

(with the aid of ether)

Has it really been almost a week since I last updated this hunk of kack? Please except my heartfelt apologies, dear reader, but I have been doing many wondrous and magical things! Honest. It hasn’t just been a random cavalcade of booze and overworking by my evil masters honest (oh the pain hurts so good . . .). And there are so many things that I want to talk about too. The demise of O-H-M. Scarves. Why absolutely everything has slightly aroused me today. The worrying fact that someone I work with described me to someone I know as “That bloke whose grinning all the time”. And probably a dozen more topics I’d remember if I hadn’t been drinking. But the fact of the matter is that it’s late, I’ve been conscripted into working tomorrow (hmmm, some more pain please sir) and my home is libel to be invaded by drunken noisy people at any moment. So, instead I’m going to try to have a bit of a kip and address all these issues, not to mention many more, over the next week or so. Hopefully posts should become more frequent (though that isn’t a promise – I’m unbelievably popular at this time of year, what with the children’s parties and the court cases), but I shan’t promise anything. And even though I’ve been mocked once already tonight for using this as a signoff, I’m going to use it again. Toodles, you fucks.

A History of Collecting – Part Sixteen (I think) – Aural Sects

December 13th, 2004 by

Finally it returns, after weeks packed in bubble wrap and stored in a dark dry warehouse! It would have appeared last night, were it not for technical issues, but there you go. For the sensibly uninitiated amongst you, what occurs beneath is yet another hazy recollection of my lifelong obsession with, well, various things. Hey, there’s an archive to get you up to speed if you’re really interested. Can’t imagine that you would be, but hey. It’s a form of therapy for me. Christ I need it.

Neither of my parents were particularly interested in music when I was growing up. We did have an incredibly decrepit record player, which I’d sometimes stick my Dad’s old Elvis LPs on. But that died by the time I was only seven or eight and no one ever thought to replace it. The only music that was bought by anyone in the house were cassettes for the car. Mainly just petrol station ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ bargain things. It was seldom for these to migrate into the house. On occasion they would, due to the fact that the only other possibility of music came from a small tape recorder that was originally purchased as a data provider for a ZX81. That died quite quickly and unceremoniously, eventually being taken apart by me, using whatever little brute force I possessed, to see what made it work. I didn’t come off any the wiser.

The tape recorder faired better, lasting several years. It wasn’t music that it was really used for though, at least not by me. The primary use I found for it was making amusing radio programs, with help from Neill (with two Ls) and my brother. That and a magazine I briefly collected called ‘Story Teller’. Every fortnight you’d get part of an abridged classic tale, colourfully illustrated, and some exciting newly commissioned pieces. I remember being particularly distressed by the painting of a broken, buckled Tin Man after some flying monkeys had dropped him. The exciting part was the free tape that came with every issue, featuring a variety of voices reading out all of the stories, so you could do that whole read along bit. There were also a number of Ladybird books released about then that came with similar read along ideas behind them. These were quite fun, but at times a little off putting. The Transformers tie-ins for example, while telling some good tales, had a completely different voice cast from the TV series, causing some levels of confusion on my part. Eventually the tapes would have Blu-Tak or plasticene jammed in the holes on the top and another ‘Dimbo Radio’ (my own station) program would end up recorded on top of it

And so it remained for a number of years, until at one of the designated gift buying periods, I was given a radio cassette player. I don’t recall having asked for it (I was probably demanding some sort of exciting Action Force vehicle), but here it was. There had always been radios in the house, but they were without exception tuned to Radio 4; an obsession of my Mother’s, who to this day still has no interest in music. So here was my opportunity. A whole new medium to explore, various exciting wavelengths to try out and listen to into the dead of night under my sheets like any other self respecting pre teen. But that would be too easy wouldn’t it. I played around with the radio for a few nights, but eventually found that, apart from Dave Lee Travis playing an amusing song about truckers, there seemed to be nothing there for me. Slowly the recorder drifted to the corner of the room, then into a cupboard, only to come out for fewer and fewer radio recordings.

I was getting to hear music through other means at the time. Neill (with two Ls) had inherited one of his Dad’s old stereos and was given carte blanche to play with all his old vinyl too. There was a considerable amount of this, his Dad being a musician who grew up in Liverpool in the sixties. Strangely it was the first Pink Floyd album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which caught our attention the most. The Chinese whisper principle applying so much as it does at that age, and me being a gullible sod, led to me believing that Syd Barrett had gone mad while writing it and killed himself. This lascivious aspect only helped to contribute to our fascination with the album. The childlike hippy imagery, the freeform freak out of Interstellar Overdrive, the fact that someone had chosen to end a song with the sounds of a gaggle of geese. It was all so wondrous (except for the bit where we wrote all over the cover to a first printing of Meet The Beatles), but was to me something to be done away from home. My house was a peculiarly tuneless place and that was how I wanted to keep it. Besides which, all of my disposable income was going on comics and toys anyway.

That was until one day I had a brainstorm of sorts. It was after watching a film called Comic Book Confidential that I had videoed due to it being on way past my bedtime. A fascinating documentary (that I’d quite like to see again if anyone has a copy) and probably my first exposure to the American underground movement. But the thing that struck me was the soundtrack. There was some music on there that I really quite liked. So did I try and get hold of the soundtrack? Watch the credits, find out who the artists were and track down their work? Of course not. Those would have inevitably cost money I didn’t have and my parents were patient enough with the number of newsagents and toyshops I dragged them into. They wouldn’t have put up with traipsing through Our Price in Witney while I tried to find a Dr John tape (it transpires that the film was also my first exposure to the Night Tripper himself as well).

No, I did the obvious thing. I had acquired a blank tape from somewhere, so got my little stereo as close to the television’s speaker (stereo in a TV? Unheard of!), hit pause, play and record, and set the video running. I had to go back once or twice, when I got to enthusiastic with the pause button and got sections of dialogue over the tunes, but soon I had all of the incidental music to play at my leisure in my room. But it was a ninety-minute cassette and I had barely filled up much more than fifteen minutes of it. It was then that I hit upon my masterstroke and began what I think was my only ever free collection. Can you tell what it is yet?

Hum, bugger

December 11th, 2004 by

Went to the first of God knows how many Christmas parties last night. These always leave me with mixed emotions. Given the fairly solitary nature of my job and position as intermediary between two buildings, it’s one of the few opportunities during the year I get to catch up with some of my myriad chums. No one from the building I work in was in attendance. This left me having fun chatting with said chums, but also left me sitting quietly in corners as they spoke to colleagues I may have seen once before (probably last Christmas). I’m just crap at meeting new people. The environment didn’t help particularly; having the ambiance of a really poor school disco, or as someone pointed out, a really unpopular persons wedding. The eighties musical mega mix was so painful, that I ended up going out to smoke (didn’t I mention it was in a no smoking building?!) far too often. And you couldn’t even take your drink out with you! At least some of the booze was free. The rest of these work related dos should at least be more personal and mainly involve people I actually know, but it’s hard for me to rationalize why I go to these things. Free booze? Friends? The faint possibility of sex with someone I don’t have to see for a year? Probably all of the above. Will I go again? Unless I sort my life out . . .

Blue Condition

December 8th, 2004 by

Oh what a world, oh what a world. It’s been a remarkably busy few days, hence the absence of any brain outpourings for which I feel I must once again apologise. Why do people feel the need to buy things in December? It seems so unnecessary. Can’t promise when I’ll next have free time to update again, but hopefully I’ll at least get something constructive up at the weekend. I would now, but I’m absolutely shattered. There has been a technical update to the site, but what that actually is I’m uncertain as I’m writing this offline. Nevertheless it should give some of these a slightly more individualistic feel. If I can work out how to work it. Speak to you all soon. Be good.

Browned Off

December 4th, 2004 by

Saw a recording of a recent James Brown concert on telly last night. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m an enormous fan of the Broon as I lovingly call him (I didn’t come up with the name – think it’s a tribute to The Broons, the old Dudley D. Watkins strip that ran in some Scottish newspaper). He’s one of only two non-local musicians I’ve gone out of my way to see live more than once. And merely being in the same room as him is enough of a buzz, let alone the joy of actually seeing him perform mere feet away. The problem is when you then see it out of context. Watching him on the tiny screen in my bedroom produced almost exactly opposite emotions in me. It all looked so horribly forced, as he pasted on a fake smile and ran through the same songs he’s been doing every night sine 1979 (plus Living in America, but I prefer not to think about that one). He had the same band backing him as when I last saw him, who are unbelievably tight, but seem to have sanitised the songs so that they now come across as easy listening mush, rather than the funk stormers he was kicking out back in the day. And half of them are white! What’s that all about? Since when did the Godfather allow these jive honky punk mofos into his outfit? I’m certain they were playing exactly what I heard live, but television and the lack of a sweaty octogenarian doing the electric boogaloo literally in front of me left me empty. James, I implore you, stop allowing cameras in. Let my memories be good.

Customary

December 2nd, 2004 by

Well, as you can see I’ve been pretty crap with the daily regime again. Actually down to a combination of reasons this time, mainly revolving around booze and Christmas. Why do people have to buy presents from me? It seems very unfair. Did have a possible brush with celebrity earlier today though. Almost sure that I saw the bloke who played hapless holidaymaker Keith Baron’s neighbour in unpopular eighties sitcom Duty Free. He’d lost the moustache, gone grey and looked considerably older (possibly like some one else some might say), but I recognised his slimy mush even as he tried to ignore mine. Hint of the day – never try to entice someone into your abode with offers of squash. It appears not to work. Right, someone’s demanding the use of the heap of shite I’m typing this on, so I’ll try and give you some more useful lifestyle hints the morrow. Pip pip.

Hummer

November 29th, 2004 by

Ordinarily I spend most of my day listening to a discman. With the nature of my job primarily involving me wandering about a building on my tod, the pleasures of my extensive music collection help to wile away the hours. Today I managed to remember to bring the discman, the ten discs that could last me the day, batteries, even the case that straps it to my belt. But I forgot the belt. Twat. This led to the unfortunate thing that always happens when I don’t have music playing in my ears; I started making it myself. Found myself humming the rocking out part of the A Team theme in front of one of the more attractive members of staff. Maybe she was impressed, but I have my doubts. A History of Collecting is resting and will return when I can think of something that doesn’t involve jumping forward five years. Listen to Johnny Trunk. He fun. Is.