Something for the Weakened

Archive for September, 2007

Caves on Mars! Caves on fucking Mars!

September 29th, 2007 by

Whaling and Mo’ning

September 29th, 2007 by

I spent much of last weekend devouring Michael Palin’s diaries (boy, was I hungry (and now ashamed)), ploughing through over three hundred pages in two days (boy, was I farming (sorry, I’ll stop now)). The man has led a fascinating life and in the five years of diaries I got through covered some spectacular events, in both his life and in the world at large. I did become slightly disturbed at one point though. Palin’s thirtieth birthday. This occurred while he was in the middle of filming Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Which rather put my own existence into some sort of perspective. By the time he was thirty Palin already had all four series of Python behind him, a series about the history of Britain whose name escapes me, two series of Do Not Adjust Your Set and Christ knows how many sketches written for the various mid sixties satire shows. This seems incredible, especially with the current climate of British comedy. The last people under thirty I can think of who had their own vehicle commissioned would be Lee and Herring, and that was for radio – they must have been damned near to thirty before they got anywhere near a telly. Obviously the commissioning processes have changed a great deal since then, but it still disturbs me that in the same amount of time as I’ve been on this planet Palin had managed to knock out quite as much (mostly) excellent product. The thing that really sickens me though – Eric Idle was even younger. At least he’s a cunt now.


September 29th, 2007 by

It’s occurred to me that the level of alcohol I have to consume to work up enough Dutch courage to attempt some sort of a move on a girl, is exactly the same amount of alcohol that would make any attempted pass by me about as attractive as having your face licked by a tramp.

I should probably try to do something about this.

I’m not shaving off the beard yet though.


September 29th, 2007 by

Wow, no one’s really reading this at all at the moment. I was considering giving it up a few weeks ago, when hit rates were particularly low, but they hadn’t plummeted as far as they have now. I hope that the lack of updates is the cause of this. It leaves me with only one option, really. To pop on my contrary hat and bang out this old shite until I drive everyone away. Huzzah! Above you will find the posts that would’ve gone up earlier this week, if I’d had the time or sobriety to write ‘em. Hope you enjoyed ‘em.


September 22nd, 2007 by

Since my return from Wales, I’ve not entirely caught up on my internet reading. Work’s been quite hectic and as such I’ve not had my usual four hours of free internet time. This is unfortunate with, for example, my being hopelessly behind reading Eddie Campbell’s always fascinating blog. Conversely, it had meant close to a month passing without my obsessively reading everything posted in the ‘Comedy Chat’ forums of Jaded & Narked. I confess that I have dipped in every once in a while to have a gander at the odd thread, but no more than that.

The dilemma presented itself to me very early this morning. Deciding to see if anything interesting had gone on recently, I went to the forum page, only to discover it to be unviewable to non-members. Now I’ve been looking at this thing far too regularly for the past couple of years, but the past month without has been psychologically refreshing to me. I’ve occasionally considered joining in with the dialogues on there, but have never really been one for online discussions, so registering never really came up. I don’t really want to completely abandon reading what’s being said on there, so was happy to know that it was there over these past few weeks and that I had the self control to leave it alone (to some degree). But what will happen if I have to register just to see the ongoing soap opera? I fear that I’ll almost intantaneously descend back into reading the endlessly circular debates and over praise of The Goodies, only this time with the greater possibility of my joining in. On the other hand I could forget the whole thing and try to carry on my life without it. Though I didn’t get the chance to download those early Morris GLR programmes that went up recently, so I’ve a sneaking suspicion I know which it is to be . . .

Some sort of wandering grumble I guess, though it is sort of optimistic in places, but has an utterly shite title

September 16th, 2007 by

Yesterday I was told that a friend of a friend was hosting a nineties theme night. This I can vaguely understand – it being well over half a decade since whichever turn of the millenium you subscribe to, nostalgia for a vaguely distant time is sort of understandable. It’s something I try to avoid in anything except in a properly archived fashion, but I shall allow others to participate with only the smallest amounts of bile expressed from my healthy man boobs. It did set me wondering about what people could possibly do in another ten years time. The thing is that as far as I can see the past seven and a half years have been lacking in any real individual identity. More to the point, they have seen too large an expansion in the identity of individuals that there have been far fewer explosions in collective movements. The absence of any era defining new musical movement in getting on for twenty years, for example, hasn’t led to an absence of good music, but it has led to the sludgy rehashings that pass for the more innovative moments in pop these days. Screw together some sixties psych, a couple of eighties synth chords, slap on some sort of house derived beat and perform with a punk attitude and watch as you sail to the top of whatever the hit parade has become in this day and age (what a lot of ‘and’s. I’ll have to watch that). Maybe it’s just my getting old and not really knowing what the kids are up to now, though I think that might in some way be down to there being more things for them to get up to than my old bones can comprehend anymore. So, do the early 2000s (I refuse to use the ‘N’ word) have an identity at all? I guess they probably do – I seem to recall being certain that there was no ‘look’ to the nineties, though I’ve rethought that after seeing too many endless repeats of Friends. Without the hindsight it’s hard to see the differences, plus half of my wardrobe’s almost a decade old, so my notice of any is infiniteisimal. And as we’re approaching the point where a new musical movement should be shifting into gear (‘67, ‘77, ‘87 – I’ve been through all this before, weren’t you paying attention?), it’s heartening to know that most of the kids are off their tits on MDMA. Well, it is to me anyway.


September 15th, 2007 by

I was sitting on a roof, smoking a fag a couple of weeks ago, when I found myself mulling over phone greetings. I’ve no idea how I came to be mulling that over, but mull I did. There have always been phones around me. One of my few pre-school recollections is of playing with my toy phone and the strange texture of the string from receiver to base. After that was broken or consigned to the bottom of a toy box, I remember playing with the real phone in the house, for which I was occasionally scalded. I nevertheless continued to play, until the fateful day when I managed to actually dial a real number. The sound of a strangers voice on the other end of the line terrified my shy frame and I immediately hung up and legged it. I never played with the phone as a toy again.

But as I said, it’s the greetings I ended up mulling over. In my boyhood home, my father had instigated the system of picking up and rather than saying “Hello,” or anything, simply reading out our phone number. This being the system as long as I remember, when I got over my telephonic phobia (the voice at the other end really had unnerved me) and was allowed to answer the ringing (I wasn’t permitted until I was, what, seven or eight at a rough guess), I was trained to answer in the same fashion. Why we answered in this way was not something I questioned. I was slightly confused by the answer of “Hello,” when calling Neill (with two Ls), but assumed that was because of his family being from Liverpool and that was the way that ‘common’ people did it. I was unpleasantly middle class from a very early age.

So why did we use this cold, clinical answering style? To this day I’m uncertain. Possibly to throw cold callers off their guards. Maybe to sound professional in those pre-mobile days when the boss could phone up, invite himself round for dinner and lead to hilarious consequences (there is something of the Terry Scott about him now I think about it). Perhaps there is some kind of historical precedence to it that I have no knowledge of. It could have had something to do with the involvement with Cold War warning stations. I’ve never bothered to ask and to be honest doubt I ever will.

It’s academic now anyway. In my early to mid teens, I realised that the person on the other end of the line wouldn’t actually be offended if I just said “Hi,” rather than reaffirming the number they had just dialled. I forget if it was an act of tiny rebellion or just because I’d become bored reading the number I’d learnt by rote, but I never again read it out to the dialler. Slowly the rest of my family moved away from it as well, though I have heard my father occasionally lapse back to it in the last few years. Nowadays, knowing who it is calling me at almost all times, I can tailor my response to the caller themselves. Never again shall I say “Witney, two two four seven.” That I think is a good thing.

Mahalo *

September 15th, 2007 by

And I’m back from the wilderness. The past month or so has all been a bit mental what with moving house, going on me hol’s and various other stimulant fuelled moments of confusion. Now that that’s all out of the way for at least another year, I can attempt to sink back into the depths of my broken mind and bring missives to the few dozen of you still bothering to read my rantings. At least in theory – I’m sure if one were to read through all of the archive, my stating “Naah, I’m gonna be postin’ far more reggerly from now on,” would undoubtedly come up more regularly than anything else. As such, I shall state no such thing, though will try and write stuff down more regularly. In fact, I think I feel another one coming on . . .

* I first happened upon the word ‘Mahalo’ as a greeting in Pete(r) Milligan’s Shade The Changing Man (no, he didn’t create it, but I’ve never read Ditko’s run, nor do I have any real desire to do so) and was amused to hear some mention of it as a new online search service. So, to clarify, I am using it as a greeting rather than selling out to The Man. The Man is still yet to offer enough. Are you listening Man? Are you?