Saturday, 14 January 2017

'install as normal'

Favourite unhelpful instructions for a while. Took delivery of a new sofa today. Instructions for attaching the feet: a tiny, illegible illustration, and the text 'Turn the sofa over, remove the feet and bolts from the pocket and install as normal'. Got to love 'install as normal'.

(As with a number of recent posts, this is me copying over an old Facebook post before deleting it. (Ditto Twitter.) This one from September.)

new email

That thing when you see you've got a new email come in and you think ooh I wonder who this is from and when you look it's the reminder email you sent yourself twenty seconds ago and had already forgotten about.
I'm only 49, you know.


There is a joke Nirvana t-shirt which has the Nirvana logo but a picture of Hanson.

What I'd like is a t-shirt which has the Nirvana logo but a picture of Bananarama.

(Original line-up, obvs.)

What? Yes, a little lightheaded, actually, but I think I'm just hungry.

perceptive boys

The back of an old Puffin edition of Jane Gardam's A Long Way From Verona indicates that it is 'Highly recommended for girls, and perceptive boys, of eleven and over.' (I know this via Andy Miller on Twitter.)

I could have done with this line for most of my life. 'No, I'm not a big girl's blouse, actually, I'm a perceptive boy.'

Although, obviously, using such a line would have led to quite the beating.

men sought for quest

If you seek bold, reckless and desperate men to join you on your quest, whatever it may be, you would have found such men shopping in Stornoway on Christmas Eve on the supposed one-day lull between Storm Barbara and Storm Conor.

a different corner

I was sorry to hear of George Michael's death at Christmastime. My favourite George Michael song was always A Different Corner (though I know more of the Wham Rap than one reasonably should). It was No 1, I think, but the only time I remember ever hearing it after that when I wasn't playing it myself was while having a workday lunch in a pub with Cathi Thacker and/or Sarah Mayers up in Bletchley. Sarah, of course, is far too long gone.

Here it is on Youtube.

And if all that there is is this fear of being used,
I should go back to being lonely and confused.
If I could, I would, I swear.

Friday, 13 January 2017

nice fish

On New Year's Eve we all got day seats for the matinee of Nice Fish, at the Harold Pinter Theatre. We all enjoyed it.

funny women

I don't need any examples of funny women to prove that women can be funny, because why in the world would I think that women couldn't be funny?

a murder of quality

On Monday 20th June 2016 I finished John le Carre's A Murder Of Quality, which was quite good.

skigersta phonebox and drumming snipe

Here is the Google Streetview of the Skigersta phonebox.

It was here that my granny waited on a particular 1967 night for a call from Aberdeen with news of a birth.

Looking at it, there's every chance that that's literally the same box. Who had a phone in their house then? Even when I was in secondary school I had friends who didn't have a phone in their house. Now it's the rare person who doesn't have a mobile phone, and we may be moving back into a time when people don't have a phone in their house.

That technological development is perhaps shaded by the fact that resources like Streetview mean you can see a 360 degree of that view - and most views in the developed world where there's a road - anywhere you are any time you like. (The view, as I write, is from August 2009. I don't know whether the link will survive changes, but it'll be findable again.)

As my granny waited she was accompanied by the sound of the snipe drumming, a sound she would always associate with that night.

I was familiar with that sound long before I knew this story, and before I knew what the sound was, exactly (it was clearly made by a bird, flying in the dusk or dark rather than daylight). It's made by the snipe's tail feathers. It's my favourite and most evocative sound of my Hebridean years.

Here is a Soundcloud clip which gives a very clear idea of the sound.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

the hobbit parts two and three

On Saturday 15 February 2014 I went in the afternoon to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in the only place it was still showing in London that day, one of the Odeon Leicester Square Studio screens.

Texted Douglas about it, but referring to the trilogy really, 'Tries to turn simple children's adventure into prologue to Lord Of The Rings and so delivers neither successfully. I would have enjoyed them both if they had simply tried to make them as separate films.'

On Tuesday 30 December 2014, in the evening, I went by myself, no one else in the family being interested since the first one, to see the final part of the Hobbit trilogy at Cineworld West India Quay. Much the same thoughts as the second. I still may one day get the full three-DVD versions for all the deleted scenes and extras, if they're anything as good as the LOTR ones.

marian keyes

The utterer of the finest opinion ever expressed on BBC Radio 4's A Good Read - 'Nothing wrong with chips' -, Marian Keyes can be relied upon.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

friars nativity

Yesterday I helped out with Ania and the LCM schools team running a nativity event for Friars Primary School (key stage 2 classes) at St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey. My job was being one of the three dressed-up groups meeting them at various points on their walk to the church and walking with them part of the way. I was with Rosemary and Tim at the first station, in Trinity Church Square, and there a page on the school website about it (including photos, some of which I am in, though I didn't stay for the church part of it, but went back to the office) here.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

a birthday-related post

(I posted this on FB in the small hours this morning.)
Up late, having finished preparing a disastrous 'it's the thought that counts' birthday cake and wrapping some little extra pound-shop presents for the girl who was wanting to wake us up in about three hours time, to match the time of her birth and mark the actual moment when she becomes a teenager. We didn't take her up on this, even though she said we could go back to bed after having done so.
I'm hoping she'll find the cake amusing, with the promise of getting something nicer later.
Doesn't seem thirteen years since I was stubbing my toe going to answer a phone call at 4.18am from the hospital telling me it was time to come in. I got the bus up. I arrived there 4.40am, our daughter arrived not long after.
3lb 14oz.
She's taller than her mum now.
I didn't tell Bethan I'd stubbed my toe. It hurt, but I didn't want to make a fuss. That's just the kind of guy I am.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

the hound of death

On Thursday 18th August I finished The Hound of Death, a short story collection from 1933 by Agatha Christie, which was okay.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

impressionable teenagers

You only describe teenagers as 'impressionable' when they are being taught something you disagree with.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

harry potter and the chamber of secrets

On Friday 4th November I finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling, which was not bad.

virago documentary

I watched an interesting documentary on Virago (the publisher of books by women, predominantly, founded in 1973) which I'd recorded some time ago on BBC4. Three interesting unconnected things:

- One of their early senior staff members said that they published twelve books in their first year, and they were asked in a press conference, 'How are you going to find enough books for next year?'

- There are no on-screen misprints more annoying than those in documentaries about books. Very careless.

- In the section covering the serious disagreement among top-level management at one point about which larger publisher to sell the business to (although the clip doesn't necessarily indicate she was specifically talking about this instance), Margaret Atwood said, 'I had a background in small publishing myself, and the smaller the cheese, the more ferocious the mice.' Which I thought was brilliant, and applies to so many contexts, not least church; I did a Google and it didn't come up as a frequently-used expression, so it may be an Atwood original. Or something only Canadians say.

our spoons came from woolworths

On Saturday 11th May I stayed up late and finished reading Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns. I didn't like it at all - miserable events, horrible people, simpleton narration.

a christmas carol

On Monday 29 December 2014 we went to see a theatre production of A Christmas Carol at the Pleasance, near Caledonian Road. It was pretty good.