Saturday, July 31, 2004

Saturday, July 31, 2004
M has long talked of her love of Will & Grace and living the life of that sit-com. Today she set up a scenario to make her dream come true. As she pointed out as we walked out of Oxfam Books, straight men don't buy Judy Garland biographies. And here was me thinking I was being galant taking the book to the counter and handing over the cash. Wondered what that raised eyebrow from the gal behind the counter was all about.

The young man came to the old man seeking counsel.
I broke something, old man.
How badly is it broken?
It's in a million little pieces.
I'm afraid I can't help you.
There's nothing you can do.
It can't be fixed.
It's broken beyond repair. It's in a million little pieces.

But no, nothing is broken beyond repair. As James Frey has just explained to me, no matter how dark your darkest day, there's always the potential for everything to brighten up; no matter how much you fuck it up or how fucked up you are, you can overcome everything; no matter how low you sink, you can, eventually, smile again and wake up one day and realise everything is fine, that life is beautiful, that the million little pieces are starting to fit together again. Only James says it more eloquently.

posted by dave - 10:54 pm

Friday, July 30, 2004
I've just seen a good old fashioned demo march. Is it 1974 all over again? Power to the people. Lots of council workers waving placards shouting something about no pay cuts. And standing outside the BBC hollering "We know you're in there!" I wonder who it was they were after. A member of the underclass supping from a can of Woodpecker asked me what they were harping on about. "I think," I stuttered before patronising, "It's something to do with them having their wages reviewed and that lots of them will be getting less wages than they do now." "Fuck 'em," came the cider-breathed reply, "Give 'em fuck all, council twats." Solidarity indeed.

posted by dave - 1:52 pm

I am still in recovery after venturing out on my rather swish cycle. Upon hitting the city centre I stumbled around the streets of York like some rabid, salivating, insane fool on the verge of a coronary. People were keen to step out of my way to allow me through. I realised that I have fitness levels akin to Elvis in later life. I really need to do something about all this. But first, I must eat lots of Chinese food and drink several pints of lager. Enough so that I become sick of that way of life. Then a new regime will start. I also realised that I have acquired hay fever. On the return journey my eyes streamed so much that I couldn't see where I was going and remained in an extreme state of bloodshot for hours aftewards.

I met a lovely couple in York when I stopped for a beer to recover from the horrors of pedalling a bike. There was no room at the Pitcher and Piano on the banks of the Ouse so I invited myself to a table that two 80-year-olds occupied. They were keen to tell me all about their lives. He'd had a stroke and had lost his vision in one eye. She was Dutch. They met and fell in love during World War II. He liberated her in more ways than one. And they had to ask Monty, General Montgomery no less, for permission to marry, cos there was a war on. He wrote Monty a letter and the Gen replied that, because of the brazen cheek of this couple, he had no option but to give permission. They'd been married for 60 years and I was on the verge of buying them a drink until I realised that they were complete strangers and might have been making it all up. And I couldn't get a word in edgeways.

posted by dave - 9:09 am

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Banks. Don't talk to me about banks.

C:\ delete rant about inept, cheating good-for-nothing banks.

On the upside, today was a memorable one and I feel happy that this particular chapter in my life is almost at an end. Drive-by shooting aside, that is.

posted by dave - 9:03 am

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
My preferred toilet cubicle, of the four that we have on this floor in the office, is the third one along. I'm not sure why, how or when this happened. But I have become aware that it must now always be the third one along. It is, perhaps, an odd choice, as there are four cubicles from which to make the selection. Most people, I feel, would choose one of those available at either end, to minimise the chances of someone sitting next to them. In cubicle three you could well be surrounded by fellow toilet users and this, even I admit, would not be a comfortable feeling. Yet still it's number three. Oddly, whenever I am in there, the cubicles at either side tend to remain vacant. Maybe there's a conspiracy against me or word has got out about my pungency. Today, though, I was shocked when I was joined in the adjacent cubicle by a mystery user. However, they didn't hang about. They had, I deduced by the miracle of overhearing, headed in there to merely sit down and blow their nose. How very odd. Or maybe it's me that's odd. Maybe I should shut down all of my senses when I head in there and get in some kind of toilet cubicle zone. When I use the toilets on the ground flow, btw, I use the fourth one along. The female cleaners here are prone to get in the toilets rather early, often before most of the staff have gone home for the evening. It's rather off-putting if you need to nip in there for last-minute shenanigans, I can tell you, although I applaud the whole Ally McBeal nature of it all. I once used a fine and dandy urinal in the Felix Bar of the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. It was mounted on a glass wall, giving the sense that you were 'going' right over Kowloon.

posted by dave - 9:55 am

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Pals fear that Britney is becoming a sex addict. Kev is turning her into a sex addict. That's right, a sex addict. The proof? Well, it's in National Enquirer. A cover image points to Brit's incredibly bumpy nipples concealed under a tight tee. Kev, who is turning her into a sex addict, has forced Britney to be pierced. It's an obvious sign of sex addiction, a piercing. Who are these pals? Are they, too, sex addicts? Do they have pierced nipples, as all sex addicts do? Don't they want the Britster to have a piece of the action? Well, make way, cos Kev's turned her into a sex addict. As the cover image proves. Yes, a sex addict.

posted by dave - 8:32 pm

It's Danielle's birthday today. Hurray. She liked what she got. And gave me a big kiss and a hug. I did what most Dad's do. Watched her open her presents before skulking off to work, leaving her to adjust to life as a 14-year-old. But these are the days when I could just kick my way through anything that makes the mistake of getting in my way. I'm a great big ball of confusion and supercharged emotions. Grrrrrrrr.

posted by dave - 4:06 pm

Monday, July 26, 2004
Must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill...must pay the gas bill... ... ... d'oh! forgot to pay the gas bill.

There might be fewer cars on the road during the school hols - thus cutting ten minutes off the daily commute - but the city centre is full of mothers who plough a way through crowds for the other 75 children they have hanging on their sweaty, overweight, scabby legs by ramming pushchairs into people's ankles. How nice. Have just seen an actor I know in town wearing the most ridiculous 'look at me, look at me' outfit. A pair of massively baggy Eminem style pants, bright yellow flip-flops that were at least two sizes too big and a pair of headphones so enormous that they may well have been designed in 1939-1945. Then I bumped into the real Dom Joly in Nat West. A man with nothing to shout down his telephone but "I'm in the bank. YES, THE BANK!!" Why not just terminate the call and talk later? I have also seen a dog sat in the passenger seat of a car that was being pushed by three humans. That can't be right. The sun does funny things to people. Especially those with a history of skin cancer in the family.

Sausage of the day: chorizo. Anachronistic car cassette: Pearl Jam's Vitalogy

posted by dave - 1:56 pm

Sunday, July 25, 2004
Two great things have come out of having this blog this week. Someone from LA stumbled upon it and it was the first blog that she'd ever read. Am not sure if Killing Time is the right kind of initiation into the world of mad ramblings that are weblogs but I'm thrilled that one of the three readers I attract is on the other side of the Atlantic. The other was that an old school friend also stumbled across it. It's amazing how, just hours after you think about someone from the past, they pop up again. I'd been reading an article that had an interview with Neil's brother in the paper I work for and, thanks to my memory banks, was transported back to those innocent days when life was in black and white, we all dressed like Billy Casper from Kes and we kicked a tennis ball up and down an alley at the side of his house. And just a day later, he leaves a comment in my guestbook and succeeds in making me feel all warm inside. Mind you, Neil is a GP so he does wield such warm 'n' tingly inside powers...

posted by dave - 11:58 am

Saturday, July 24, 2004
Sam spent several minutes in McDonalds trying to convince us that the cheeseburgers that you get in a Happy Meal these days are smaller than they used to be. The counter argument that he is getting bigger didn't shift his viewpoint, he just launched an embittered rage about - in his opinion - the similarly reduced size of Happy Meal milkshakes. His mind is well and truly made up and I expect that he is on the verge of completely shifting his alliegance to Burger King. A sad day for Ronald indeed. We went into York market where I purchased a single onion. The stall holder was less than impressed that I only spent 10p and was completely unmoved when I quipped, "Ha ha! Last of the big spenders! Do you have change for a 20 quid note?" Busking in York was more impressive than usual today - real musicians have taken to the streets outside of Betty's rather than homeless folk with howling border collies. My protest against buying copies of the Big Issue now that they've dropped us northern freelancers appears to be having no effect whatsoever. I blanked a vendor only to see him bouncing back by engaging a woman in a motability scooter in a conversation about the weather. I remember vendors when they used to chase you down the street. That magazine's nothing without my video reviews. Okay, I'm lying. It's still one of the few magazine's I'd urge everyone to buy. I miss being a contributor to its pages.

Back into: A Million Little Pieces. Sounds: The Libertines' Up The Bracket. Writing status: Stuck on amber.

posted by dave - 6:00 pm

Friday, July 23, 2004
Just seen the funniest thing in a bank. An old woman with a shopping trolley passed a load of bags full of money over the counter to the teller. A couple of minutes of counting passed by and then the teller pulled a face that suggested she was disgusted. She placed a bag back under the counter and said "I don't think I'll be wanting that!" The old woman opened the bag and said "Ah, I wondered where those two slices of cake had got to."

Just minutes later, outside the bank, an old man was walking down the street and a carrier bag blew onto his foot. He looked down to check what mysterious object had attached itself to him and, without breaking stride, just carried on walking the full length of the street with the bag stuck on his foot, looking very pleased with himself.

posted by dave - 4:09 pm

When I first started work here I used to work hard and party hard. I've dispensed with the first bit, so it's all working out well.

I can't claim this as my own (and it's only the last line of each verse that really matters). Well done, Robert Smith...

i don't care if monday's blue
tuesday's grey and wednesday too
thursday I don't care about you
it's friday i'm in love

monday you can fall apart
tuesday wednesday break my heart
thursday doesn't even start
it's friday i'm in love

saturday wait
and sunday always comes too late
but friday never hesitate...

i don't care if monday's black
tuesday wednesday heart attack
thursday never looking back
it's friday i'm in love

monday you can hold your head
tuesday wednesday stay in bed
or thursday watch the walls instead
it's friday i'm in love

saturday wait
and sunday always comes too late
but friday never hesitate...

dressed up to the eyes
it's a wonderful surprise
to see your shoes and your spirits rise
throwing out your frown
and just smiling at the sound
and as sleek as a shriek
spinning round and round
always take a big bite
it's such a gorgeous sight
to see you in the middle of the night
you can never get enough
enough of this stuff
it's friday
i'm in love

posted by dave - 2:59 pm

Thursday, July 22, 2004
Lots of heroin addicts down the backstreets near work today. Lots of patrol cars cruising the surrounding area. Somehow, the two have avoided each other. It's not, I don't think, that smackheads are canny at keeping out of touching distance of the long, veins-still-intact, arm of the law. Quite the opposite. The pale, pasty, grey-skinned, hypodermic holders do everything they can to draw attention to themselves, short of shooting up on the steps of police stations. Rather that the police don't seem keen on tackling the obvious offender, kidding themselves that they're out to get the suppliers. Yet, down a street where I often park the Toyota Yaris (European Car of the Year 2000. In the same year, Daphne and Celeste were pelted with bottles of urine at the Reading Festival. Don't say this blog ain't educational), there is a very obvious house devoted to the art of dealing drugs, the front of which is frequented by all manner of drugged-up fuck-ups, its door hammered on regularly by those desparate for a fix. There was a community cop shop just round the corner from this house for a few months but, although the only thing it lacks is a flashing neon announcing that it is a Class A substance outlet, the police failed to shut the place down. There really is no hope. Other than methadone.

PR folk really do amuse me. Especially a gal that emailed in to remind us imbecilic reporters that Hornsea Freeport is no longer Hornsea Freeport but is now known as...Freeport Hornsea. If they had to change the name couldn't they have done something, I don't know, a little bit more dramatic or image enhancing? Such as this.

posted by dave - 1:56 pm

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
A strange thing in Scarborough. One field. Two circuses. In the red corner, Uncle Sam's American Circus. In the blue corner, Robert Brothers' Circus. What's going on? Do people that live by the sea need an inordinate amount of performing bearded freaks, dwarves and trapeze artists? They do realise they won't see elephants on tightropes these days, don't they? That lion taming is no more. That when you've seen one very flexible acrobat that can do incredible things with their body you become addicted and spend hours downloading offensive material? Scrap that last one, I made it up. Even without the wild roaring animals circuses, like seaside towns and their Victorian gaming emporiums, are a complete anachronism. Like paisley underpants (I saw a pair of those in Scarborough too - they featured quite heavily in A Chorus of Disapproval). I wished I'd hung around circus field for a while longer. Was there a circus-off, during which stilted gents stared daggers at their opposite number before hurling overpriced hot dogs at each other? I'll never know. And I doubt I'll ever see such a strange phenomenon again. It was like a big top conference. Though not a well-attended one, really. You'd need more than two circuses for that to be a success. Cometh the hour, cometh the unicyclist and 2,000 trade stands selling those small, collapsing cars that clowns drive about in.

posted by dave - 2:16 pm

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
An odd thing struck me as I wandered through the streets of Hull at lunch with a small post-lunch amount of litter in my hands. Every dustbin I approached had been sealed up with copious quanitities of cling film and had a "this bin is not currently in service" notice attached. I'd mutter and mumble and get heated about such a ludicrous lack of refuse disposal but, as someone has just pointed out to me, I don't pay council tax in Hull so I'm not allowed to complain or point out that the city centre is a shithole, even though it is.

I'm heading to Scarborough in about an hour for the 20th anniversary production of Alayckbourn's Chorus of Disapproval. I intend to buy me a tray of chips on arrival and, when I've had my fill, shall check out the status of bins in north Yorkshire. My guess is there won't be similar levels of cling film fiasconess down by the seaside. Now, where's that knotted hankie?

posted by dave - 3:33 pm

Monday, July 19, 2004
Ah, so that's the appeal of gardening. Pyromania. Not content with the horror that was weeding I went on to set mounds of garden refuse alight. It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour, wreck an old metal dustbin and singe several overgrown herbs that I forgot to move. Although it was a close thing as the flames licked high, I also avoided setting light to a permiter fence and a washing line that I realised, a little late, was in the danger zone. Post-fire I really felt that I'd accomplished something. Mainly, that I stank like a barbecued stakelet (or torched Quorn roast, if M's reading).

After that I set about reading James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, which is about a drink and drug addled addict, and got about 70 pages in. Picking this book up might have been a mistake, as I had one of the worst nights of sleep I've had for months. Had I driven into the continental articulated lorry that forgot to give way at a roundabout on the drive in to work today I'm sure his/her defence could have cited my lack of sleep rather than the stupidity of that driver as the reason I shot out the windscreen and into the side of his/her trailer. I'd like to thank my brakes for stopping my forward motion and thus saving my life. And my boss, for complaining I was at my desk late.

posted by dave - 9:18 am

Sunday, July 18, 2004
Who on earth (wait for it....) gets any pleasure out of gardening? Have just spent well over an hour weeding and I didn't, even for one second, find it relaxing, enjoyable or in any way stimulating. My hands, as the keyboard will testify, are now ingrained with soil and my arms are recovering after nuzzling too close to wild roses. Thankfully, there was no sign of our hideously nosy neighbour, a woman so knowledgable about our garden that she would have given me step-by-step weeding instructions as she stood and watched to make sure I was getting it right. If I could afford a gardener or, better still, two tonnes of concrete, my gardening days would be done. Saying that, in ten months of being here it's only my third venture into the wilderness. I am hoping the A-Grade Kill Anything weed killer can help me out this time. Next week I shall be turning the soil over. Can't wait.

posted by dave - 12:24 pm

Saturday, July 17, 2004
Went to see Ross Noble at the Grand Opera House - York's answer to the Grand Ole Opry without any of the bollocks country n western racket - last night. I've only ever seen Noble on TV panel shows before and wasn't really prepared for how funny he was. Nice long act, too - two and a half hours. It was good to be sat in a theatre laughing heartily. M has confessed that she even cried with laughter. Ok, so neither of us blacked out at Noble's material, but he was really good, going off at crazy tangents. We both agreed (myself and M, not myself and Noble) on a rating of 7/10. On our way in we noticed that there's a really weird little terraced house sandwiched between the Opera House and an Italian restaurant. There was an old woman stood on her doorstep watching everyone go in, no doubt thinking, "Bloody stand-up comedy fans, how can I concentrate on my Mills & Boon novel and scrubbing the doorstep with all that laughing?" The orchestra pit in the theatre was left uncovered and, when he was arsing around in an electric car that was a prop from an upcoming production of Wind in the Willows, I fully expected Noble to drop off the stage into it. There was a miserable family of three sat in front of us who didn't laugh once. They must have been involved with Wind in the Willows or have a fat relative, cos Noble did a big bit about shooting fat kids out of chimneys. It's raining again in York. What kind of summer is this?

Good luck: To Mike, who's heading to Japan. Get settled in and then prepare yourself for a visit, you elusive motherf**ka. Enjoy yourself.

posted by dave - 2:18 pm

Friday, July 16, 2004
This is an example of how things I write on/for the blog suddenly become a column in a newspaper. So now, when those lovely t-shirt clad people from IT complain that I appear to be constantly updating my blog during working hours, I can justifiably snap back that it's all part of the creative process. This is worth the 32p cover price alone. Here goes...

TONIGHT I am heading out on a date with Ross Noble. As most people will already be aware, he’s a Geordie stand-up comedian.
Noble has a knack, like all the best comics, of heading off at wild tangents and riffing like a jazz musician for several hours before coming back to the planet that most of us inhabit.
The former Perrier Award nominee is already up to his eyeballs in praise, being hailed as “the most exciting stand-up in the country,” “insane but utterly brilliant,” and “an inspiration in free-form comedy”.
I should be excited about spending a couple of hours in Mr Noble’s presence. But I’m not.
It’s not the fault of the man that launched Unrealtime on the world and I’m sure Noodlemeister will be all that. It’s just that comedy seems to have entered a massive cul-de-sac the likes of which we’ve not been down since the inglorious days of Little & Large, Bernie Clifton and the Krankies. I can’t muster up any enthusiasm for an evening of laughter when I’m aware that, somewhere else in the country, Lee Evans, Donna McPhail and Jenny Eclair will be peddling out their tired old acts and people will be chuckling at them.
What’s really compounded my current mood is a recent flashback to the 1970s. Well, I thought that’s what it was until I realised that Jim Davidson had been allowed to retread his well-worn material back on the BBC. Not only that but there was a live audience who had crammed the end of some pier to willingly watch a man that once refused to perform because the front row of a theatre in Plymouth was comprised almost entirely of people in wheelchairs. He doesn’t deserve an audience of any kind, never mind a programme on a terrestrial television channel that will expose his sad excuse for humour to a potential throng of impressionable millions.
It seems that for every comedic step forward made by the likes of The League of Gentlemen, The Mighty Boosh and David Walliams and Matt Lucas, giant strides are made in the wrong direction.
The obvious example is Ben Elton, a man that ignited anti-Thatcherism but who has since struck up an unhealthy, demonic alliance with the establishment. Eddie Izzard has opted out of comedy to make it in Hollywood and Steve Coogan is heading in the same direction. Do these people not realise that, as an audience, we put all our faith in what they say, that we believe in them, that they make – or rather made – life worth living? I’ve heard Ed Byrne tell me that Alanis Morissette’s Ironic isn’t one time too many. In an anti-Bill Hicks rant Ardal O Hanlan once told me that his comedy offers no answers. I wish he’d told me that before I’d forked out the cash for the ticket.
Ross Noble, please prove me wrong. I want to laugh again.

posted by dave - 4:38 pm

Thursday, July 15, 2004
Isn't it great when you stand at a set of double doors that you assumed were automatic waiting for them to open and, when it dawns on you you have to push, glancing around sheepishly hoping nobody saw you? Hull has been awash with the cap and gown brigade all week, all heading to the City Hall for their graduation ceremonies. Bless 'em. They are being watched closely by the bemused fake Burberry-wearing socks-tucked-in-the-tracksuit chav brigade, who can't quite understand what this invasion is all about for shouting at their bleached blonde big-dangly-gold-earringed pram-pushing galfriend. Give them honorary degrees for their contribution to the city, says I.

posted by dave - 12:49 pm

Wednesday, July 14, 2004
There's been a theme to the last 24 hours. Tightropes. Last night I was talking to a chap who's got a heavy duty tightrope that he doesn't know what to do with, lurking in the back of his theatre workshop. "It can hold the weight of an elephant," he pitched, making me wonder if tightropes are graded by how many elephants they can support. On today's wonderful commute Ian Brown was singing Tightrope to me, in a reminder that The Stone Roses' Second Coming isn't all bad. I've checked the Brownmeisters lyrics and there's no mention of elephants anywhere, although he is "9 miles high," which could suggest he's sitting atop a trunked animal. I've just realised that the theme is elephants, not tightropes, although we should never forget that the lovely Romans forced elephants to walk tightropes, not long after they got bored with giving them stimulants to provoke them to batter each other with their trunks. I'm certain that Little & Large have done a sketch on this.

posted by dave - 1:25 pm

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
There's nothing quite like management by memo, especially if the memo is highlighting how keen the management are to communicate and especially if, after all that, the memo only goes out to half the staff. The memos were sent out as a result of reaction to a staff opinion survey that highlighted a lack of decent communication. Another successful strategy that needs to be applauded. Well done.

Other people that need applauding today are our cousins stateside, who, not content to rest on their laurels after successfully quashing the threat from the middle east, are now upping their defence of our continent. Thanks, Uncle Sam.

Applause also for Jay Rayner, son of Auntie Claire, who provides lots of laughs on his website The Apologist

And hats off to the shark hunters trying to get retribution for an attack that left a man dead. Why should a perfectly innocent swimmer be savaged just because he's splashing about in Speedos in water occupied by Great Whites? Let's not waste any more time trying to share the planet with other animals when we can just kill 'em.

Slightly worrying aspect of today's journey in was that, for the second day running, I listened to Chris Moyles on Radio 1 and, against my better judgement and long-held view that Moyles is complete, unadulterated crap, found myself quite enjoying it and, gulp, even laughed. There was also an interview with Kirsten Dunst who, shock horror, admitted that she'd never heard of, never mind seen, Hong Kong Phooey. What!?!?!!

I didn't intend to make today's entry just a load of links. Oh well.

posted by dave - 11:44 am

Monday, July 12, 2004
In an effort to avoid making any effort I found myself, just seconds ago, visiting a site that generates a new name for your penis. What do you mean a new name? What was the old name? Aside from 'penis' and variations thereof. From this day forward my member shall be known as Darth Vader the Intimidating Intruder, which seems a bit silly and probably won't impress anyone. I am now dubious of this random generator and wonder if it gives the same answer to all that visit it.

A rare, slightly baffling, treat has arrived in the form of a review of The Worst Seat in the House that was mailed to a colleague of mine. "I was entertained from the first minute," it said, amongst other things. How nice (and very flattering, he adds, blushing).

Topical news item that Jim Davidson will write a gag about for his racist, good-for-nuthin' act: Chinese cockle pickers arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants.

posted by dave - 12:43 pm

Sunday, July 11, 2004
Despite being trapped in a post S-Club 7 synthesised voice, mid-pubescent-body nightmare, Rachel Stevens is fast developing into one of the greatest thinkers of the 21st Century. When asked if the royal family should be scrapped Rach' responded: "No, I've met the Queen and she is cool. She liked my song..." Rach' has also shared a philosophical gem that will carry all of us through life, no matter how hard it might all get. "Be true to yourself and go with your instincts - don't be somebody you're not just to fit in." So, that's why S Club split.

A woman interviewed on a programme called Who Killed Saturday Night TV? said that she once laughed so much at Cannon and Ball that she blacked out. I find this very hard to believe. On the same programme there was a clip of Sid Little boxing a kangaroo, a depressing reminder of how sophisticated comedy has become and not in any way cruel.

Saturday, July 10, 2004
I rubbed shoulders with Peter Levy last night. And his peculiar fan base. Where e'er Peter goes, a trail of grey haired old ladies well-past retirement age follow and get very excited. Given a choice between, say, Brad Pitt or Peter, they'd choose the latter. It's all very impressive.

Witnessed an actor stealing a pint of lager last night from a table full of press drinks. My pint of lager, as it happens. Perhaps it's time to up the Equity minimum?

posted by dave - 5:21 pm

Friday, July 9, 2004
All of the content on this weblog is written, very much, with tongue firmly lodged in cheek. It all says more about bitter, twisted, arrogant, cynical, world weary me than any of the individuals that might be mentioned. The events are a boring, mundane and grossly exaggerated version of the truth. Why you'd bother reading it is beyond me. I usually post when I am tired or incredibly pissed off, or when I can't think of anything better to do with my life and need to release a tirade of abuse. The comments boxes that most people can see are for you to post comments back to me, as I'm a great believer in freedom of speech. If you don't like any of the nasty things I say email me and I will remove them. This blog has nothing to do with any of my employers and, therefore, naturally only reflects my views, for which I take full responsibility. People really need to get online a bit more and understand what blogging is all about, dontcha think? There are some really nasty bastards out there when you start looking.

Oh, and thanks for the unprecedented interest today, everyone. Very much appreciated. xxx

posted by dave - 3:53 pm

Although I was already aware that it is only thumbs that separate us from monkeys I discovered rather early in the day the full importance of the big fat digit. A lightbulb had blown in half in the kitchen in the early hours and, as I came downstairs to a floor full of glass this morning, I though I better get what remained of the bulb out of there before someone got a nasty shock. I got a nasty shock because, as I tried to force the bulb remnants out of the bayonet fitting, I pushed my right thumb into a sharp piece of glass. Ouch. Blood. Splatter. Brushing your teeth, ironing and buttoning up a shirt are all very tricky when your thumb is out of action and you've lost all opposability in your right hand. As is holding that essential journalists tool - a pen. Woe is me. The blood reflows every now and then if I forget what I've done and grip things too tightly. Oh for the secure power grip of an orangutan and a set of prehensile feet for use in emergencies.

posted by dave - 10:06 am

Thursday, July 8, 2004
How long before drinking alcohol is banned? What is all this no-tolerance nonsense about? Why can't people be drunk?

Excuse me for thinking out loud for a few minutes. I've been sat writing down some ideas for new plays as I've got to show some to someone in a couple of weeks. And it's made me ponder on what it is I'm trying to do with my work. I've realised that I love incredibly, ridiculously, articulate characters. However, they are characters that are only articulate about one subject. I'm not sure where this comes from or where it's going but I'm thinking about my dad and the way he was, for most of the time, quiet. Unless, that is, you got him going about artists or plants and then he'd spring to life and talk and talk and talk. My sister can go on for hours about dancing. I'm quite keen to harp on at length about Keith Richards. And everyone has something they're not only passionate about but that they understand the every last minutiae of, and they're keen to demonstrate that knowledge. Knowledge is power, we all know that. But it's also a leveller where social standing's concerned, too. For instance, a boy racer off a council estate could hold his own talking cars and engines with a BMW driver from suburbia. Knowledge can also see the power shifting. Posh nob with flash lifestyle likes football but young fella on the dole knows more about the game and, for those few fleeting moments when they get caught in conversation in a queue for a hot dog or a cup of bovril, dole boy takes the higher ground. Gage, my beloved supermarket manager, can take on the might of a violent pimp because he is ultra-confident in his understanding of point of sale displays and can see anyone off that dares stray into his territory. Marco, likewise, knows the ins and outs of monkey sex like nobody else on the planet. These people still grunt and stutter when they're off-subject, but they are always trying to switch the conversation back round to what they're good at talking about. Like I say, 'scuse me for thinking out loud.

posted by dave - 7:47 am

We are having toilet seat trouble at the moment. It's a cheap one and the way it is affixed to the toilet is simply not good enough. It is forever coming dislodged, usually while you're sat on the thing. Anyway, in a scene that would have looked implausible in an episode of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, I rested a foot on the seat while pulling on my socks this morning, the seat flew off and my foot entered the dreaded toilet water. A wonderful start to the day.

Have had to shout at a bus driver this morning. As I got close to heading down our street - a quiet, narrow cul-de-sac - I noticed a bus was parked at the top, thus rendering it very difficult to get down there. As I got closer it seemed that the bus was about to pull out and a man appeared in the middle of the road to wave his arms about just in case people suffered from big-fucking-bus-pulling-out-blindness. Then the bus stalled and the whole manoevre was abandoned. So there was nothing else for it but for me to carry on my journey and weave round the bus, at which point a car doing the same thing appeared in the opposite direction, thus resulting in me giving way to let the chap out. At which point, the arm-waving co-bus driver looked at me as if I couldn't drive. So, rather nicely, I asked why the fuck a massive bus that had no reason to be lodged down a quiet, narrow residential street was, in fact, in such a position. To which the arm-waving co-bus driver replied that the bus had broken down. "That doesn't answer the question," I yelped. "It can't have broken down here because it's a dead end, you've moved it here to get it off the main road but you've parked it in a very, very dangerous position that could result in a collision like the one I could have just been in had I not had my wits about me." Or I thought I said that but I think it came out more like, "What's that fucking thing doing there?" To which he responded, "What, you've never broken down then?" As if that excused a big fucking bus parked illegaly blocking the entrance to the street I needed to get down so I could post a blog entry about it all. When I grow up I want to be a bus driver.

posted by dave - 7:45 am

Tuesday, July 6, 2004
I drove to work with The Streets. Mike Skinner is my new best friend. A Grand Don't Come For Free is the dog's exposed dangly bits.'s been ages since I've heard a song that I just wanted to play and play and play and that song is The Libertines' Death on the Stairs. Previous songs that have done this to me include...Sympathy For The Devil, Like A Rollin' Stone, Big A Little A, Motorcycle Emptiness, Cold Turkey, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, Tired of Being Alone, Gett Off...

Michael Moore becomes a blogger, I add a link cos I'm something of a fan and then his blog and his entire site goes down. Wassup, Moore, you wuss? Can't take the pace of regular daily updates? Ah well. I see that Mikey boy and his subversive anti-American activities are being watched by people who think that he's a disingenuous danger to the US. It seems that they devote too much time to watching Mike though. Not only that but there are other people after the guy. Eminem was right to call it the Divided States of Embarassment. Hahaha, i'm just playin' America, you know I love you...

posted by dave - 10:59 am

Monday, July 5, 2004
Two teenage girls sat on a barrier outside Hull's city centre Family Planning/STD clinic. One girl to the other: "Shit, there's me mum." Oh dear.

posted by dave - 1:58 pm

Sunday, July 4, 2004
Phew. Groan. Gasp. I'm not fit. A bike ride up to Tescos has just proved that. It's a journey of, ooh, a quarter of a mile at most. I practically fell through the doors of the store after my ride there and it's a wonder that dozens of asthmatics didn't instantly pass this breathless buffoon their pumps. To stop the heart palpitating so rapidly I swanned around the leisurey section of the shop to start with. Checked out the 'lads mags' and wondered how anyone could refuse to buy a copy of Arena this month, with Keira Knightley on the cover. It's way more tantalising than the images on all of the competition. Of course, none of this did my pulse rate any good whatsoever, so I headed over to cheque out the Quorn for this evening's veggie-friendly feast. Quorn or Keira Knightley? Why, Quorn of course! The bike ride back was a little easier as the gradient of Tadcaster Road was with me, rather than ag'in me. But I was glad to get back in one piece tho' rueing the decision to wear a jacket as the sweat was oozing out of every pore and pouring out of every ooze.

On the play front, it's time to commit some ideas to paper later, probably as I'm watching Portugal claim the Euro 2004 title out of the corner of my eye. Now that two weeks of intense theatrical nonsense are over let a period of serious creativity and treatment writing commence!

Wondering: How are Independence Day celebrations over in Iraq?

posted by dave - 2:04 pm

Saturday, July 3, 2004
Japanese food rocks. Work's got you down, you're not quite sure what your next move as a writer will be and your employer has overlooked you for a job you could have done with both arms tied behind your back. But that vegetable tempura will lift the clouds, and the the chicken yakitori will pick you up. If you're in York and fancy a bite to eat, I can (and very often do) recommend Buzz for a bento box full of delights.

posted by dave - 11:14 pm

Friday, July 2, 2004
Five words. Make of them what you will. Fuck the Hull Daily Mail.

posted by dave - 6:11 pm

Official duties for Humber Mouth drew to a close last night though I'll be supplying reviews for a couple of other things I fancy. I trundled along to a poetry reading that quite surpassed my expectations. Ruth Padel read from her new collection The Soho Leopard. Best title of the night was The Forest, The Corrupt Official and the Bowl of Penis Soup. Penis Soup is, Ruth said, an aphrodisiac. How sweet.

A man reading the weather on Tyne Tees just used the word thunderplumps.

posted by dave - 7:57 am

Thursday, July 1, 2004
Blimey, if I was depressed at the state of theatre yesterday then there's no words to explain what I feel right now. The Pocket Dream is the worst show I have ever sat halfway through before walking out in disgust, neglecting my free interval drink and heading to something slightly more interesting - a trip to Tescos for milk, tomatos and cheap bread. What a waste of time. Bring on Ruth Padel and her poems about leopards, says I.

posted by dave - 10:51 am

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