Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Tonight I haz got teh culture. Sharon and Linn Marie had tickets for the Vienna Festival Ballet doing Swan Lake but unfortunately they couldn't go. Shame to waste them so I took our friend Christopher along for a spot of self-improvement.

I don't mind watching rhythmic dance but I have to say I'm not the world's greatest fan of the interpretive stuff. Dance, to my mind at least, does not readily lend itself to intricate story-telling. I can remember prancing about at primary school pretending to be a tree or a farmyard animal - surely it's a bit more involved than that? I'm also a ballet virgin and although I'm familiar with Tchaikovsky's music, I didn't have a clue about the story. Being too broke to get a programme, I was going to have to trust the skill of the choreographer and see if I could work it out. Couldn't. Didn't have a clue. I've just looked it up. Right, needless to say, the VFB's typecasting department worked overtime - the only black bloke in the company played von Rothbart, the baddie. But I'd worked that one out, to be honest. And pointing in an exaggerated fashion at your ring finger meant something to do with getting married, yeah? And those tights don't hide much, do they. And aren't those shoes noisy in the quiet musical bits. And are they always that wobbly? I was completely thrown by the ending; didn't realise it had finished at all until they all lined up and everyone started clapping. Wasn't there meant to be a dying swan bit? Must have been when she was on the floor near the end. Honestly, I don't think I'm that much of a philistine but I must be missing a plug-in.

Still, I'm glad I had the opportunity to go, it's been something I'd promised myself I'd see ever since I was a kid and I'd go again. And I'd like to see Swan Lake again but done by a dead famous company, just to compare. I think though that I prefer noisy rock and roll. Or opera. Never been to a proper one of those either. One last thing, and this pissed me right off: is it really that difficult to go just under an hour each side of the interval without needing to eat? We were on the end of a row but the family to my right crunched, slurped and unwrapped throughout. At one point I had to forcibly steel myself not to grab the bag of Minstrels that was being passed around and stamp on the bastard things. What is this thing people have with being in a cinema or theatre and needing to eat? I was having a hard enough job trying to work out what was going on without the noises off. DON'T BLOODY DO IT!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I live in Crewe. Crewe is six miles west off Junction 16 of the 230 miles of death that is the M6. This bit around here, from Stafford to Knutsford, regularly features on traffic reports and sadly, often as a result of quite horrific accidents. The one caused by the drunk footballer was down the road at Stoke earlier in the year and only last night, former Great Britain rugby league star David Myers was killed at Junction 17 and a family of 6 was killed just north of 16 towards Sandbach. Drive along this stretch and there's nothing unusual about it at all; it's like any other stretch of motorway in the country. It is as always, drivers being either daft or more often than not, distracted, who are the cause of accidents.

I've been listening to the traffic reports all day. The road's been clear most of the day yet traffic is still slowing down to look at the site of last night's tragedy - and more. Can someone please answer me this - Why, in the name of all that is sensible and when we know the prediliction towards crass stupidity of most drivers, do film crews insist on setting up pointless interviews with men in hi-viz jackets on the nearest bloody motorway bridge?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sweet Charity

The delights of browsing charity shop bookshelves. I have to admit feeling a bit growly at listening to Ann Widdecombe wittering on this afternoon while on Jeremy Vine's wireless programme, about the Scouts offering sex education advice. Maybe as a child (was she ever a child?) she ought to have borrowed one of Miss Matthewman's instructional tomes from her local library and mayhap she would not have been so repressed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yawn. Banks.

Murph, displaying a far greater understanding, as a labrador cross, of the current financial "crisis" (I've got no money, no savings and pay rent - what crisis?) than most commentators, posted this yesterday. In my somewhat tedious and hackneyed comment I alluded to an excellent letter published in last Saturday's Independent. There were more in the same vein but I think this one just about summed it up. For the last 20 years I have bored anyone who cared to listen that chucking good money after bad and pursuing a culture that accepted credit as currency would all end in tears. Speculation is gambling pure and simple and, as any gambler (or ex-gambler and I am one) knows, nobody ever wins. You might be on a winning streak but it doesn't take much to lose it and when the money you're gambling with is someone else's debt, it's not long before someone's knocking at the door "wanting a word".

The other rule that experienced gamblers play by is you only gamble what you can afford to lose. When share ownership became more widespread this was the most oft-repeated piece of advice and it came from the experienced players in the market, the ones who'd been around for decades. They were survivors who were there because they evaluated risk better and could temper their greed. Once Thatcher and Reagan legitimised out and out greed, all that experience went out of the window. It would have been fine if society had frozen itself in 1988 but one of the immutable facts of life is that the generations have a habit of continuing and it's those that have to pick up the pieces. Damn that evolution. Even Thatcher couldn't stop that one.
On another note - what FFS have they done with The Independent? It used to be a decent paper yet, as of two weeks ago, it's turned into a comic. There's nothing to read in it anymore and it's got more graphics in it than The Beano. It's also riddled with spelling mistakes and the kind of basic spellchecker errors one associates with a third-rate secretary. Will Self and Christopher Hirst wrote their final columns last Saturday so that means there's only the telly critic, Thomas Sutcliffe, left capable of writing anything of any sense. They'll be publishing the court circular next week.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm going to Heaven with Baby Jebus.

My walk into the library was full of action-packed incident this morning.

Walking across the piece of parkland in Crewe known as Brookland I spotted a can of beer. Actually I think I spotted it on Saturday but for some reason it had not been claimed despite the fact that it appeared to be unopened. The local tramps aren't particularly known for their discernment when it comes to free alcohol but as they usually congregate in a part of town at least half a mile away it's fair to assume they hadn't yet smelt the freebie. I picked it up, it was in perfect condition and only a trifle muddy. Unfortunately it was a can of Fosters and I am rather more discerning than the tramps. Fosters, to the layman, is about as unpalatable that a beer can possibly be. You can't even cook with it. However, I'm in no position to complain as I am suffering my own credit crunch at the moment. I bagged it.

I got to thinking about the madwoman who recently claimed she'd lived for a quid a day (after pre-paying her rent, council tax etc that would have taken her daily expenses most probably well over £20). She had also collected £117 from walking around with her nose on the ground and picking up dropped money. Being rather cash strapped, I am wont to do this myself but in the last two months I have found precisely this: zero. Then - what's that in the middle of the path? A purse. I walked on by, too embarrassed to pick it up as there were two people coming the other way and I didn't want to look too desperate. Both of them kicked it but neither stopped. I stopped though, turned round, walked back and picked it up. I opened it and there was just over £30 and a bus ticket inside. Oh, shit. A dilemma. I had recently told Sharon that I am so damned broke at the moment that I doubt I would be able to hand in a wallet packed with money if I were fortuitous enough to find one. As nobody ever really finds such a thing in real life, I thought I would be relatively safe with that. Bugger. What to do?

I thought about who had dropped it. Maybe that person was as strapped as me and had just got out the last of their money to buy gas or electricity. Damn, this was getting hard. I looked at the bus ticket. A child's one. Oh no. They've saved up to get a birthday present for their mother. The kid's going to be heartbroken. Much as I needed to, I couldn't. I walked to the police station and handed it in. 28 days and it's mine if unclaimed. Scant consolation I know, but at least I didn't tell them about the beer.
I fear I have already received my reward for my good citizenship. On the way back across Brookland after posting this from the library, I spotted yet another Fosters can lying in the grass, again untouched by tramp lips. To whomsoever controls the particular fates governing my life at the moment, a sense of humour - you haz it. I am probably the only person in Crewe, apart from the one who discarded the trophies, who doesn't drink tasteless chemical lager. What will happen to me if I drink it?

Saturday, October 04, 2008


According to an advertisement on the Facebook, for a small consideration, I can get my teeth whitened online .

I am aware of some of the recent great leaps forward with technology; for instance, I now believe it's possible for me to travel around Stoke on Trent using only one donkey and that some commentators believe the building blocks for life may even exist somewhere in the New World* but this latest news is astounding. Somehow I doubt the advertisement's claims. Many times I have found myself slack of jaw in front of a computer screen yet I still need to brush.

What may be of more use to mankind would be a facility whereby those users of the library computers immediately adjacent to this one were able to apply the self-same online technology to clean their stinking trainers.

*I know. I read it in the Daily Mail Online. Phht.