Saturday, February 28, 2004  

Another one for the collection.

I have got myself another Tom Waits CD, "The heart of Saturday night". This one will always be my favourite, I can listen to it over and over. The lyrics and instrumentation are a work of sheer genius. Mr waits is definitely an aquired taste, but if any album was a good place to start, this is it. Here's a taster:

The Ghosts of Saturday night.
(After hours at Napoleone's pizza house).

A cab combs the snake,
Tryin' to rake in that last night's fare,
And a solitary sailor
Who spends the facts of his life like small change on strangers...

Paws his inside P-coat pocket for a welcome twenty-five cents,
And the last bent butt from a package of Kents,
As he dreams of a waitress with Maxwell House eyes
And marmalade thighs with scrambled yellow hair.

Her rhinestone-studded moniker says, "Irene"
As she wipes the wisps of dishwater blonde from her eyes

And the Texaco beacon burns on,
The steel-belted attendant with a 'Ring and Valve Special'...
Cryin' "Fill'er up and check that oil"
"You know it could be a distributor and it could be a coil."

The early mornin' final edition's on the stands,
And that town cryer's cryin' there with nickels in his hands.
Pigs in a blanket sixty-nine cents,
Eggs - roll 'em over and a package of Kents,
Adam and Eve on a log, you can sink 'em damn straight,
Hash browns, hash browns, you know I can't be late.

And the early dawn cracks out a carpet of diamond
Across a cash crop car lot filled with twilight Coupe Devilles,
Leaving the town in a-keeping
Of the one who is sweeping
Up the ghost of Saturday night...

| posted by Simon | 6:43 pm | 0 comments

Friday, February 27, 2004  

Unconscious Mutterings

01.  Angel: : Falls.
02.  Birth: : Right.
03.  Logic: : Map.
04.  Stars: : In your eyes.
05.  Nursery: : Rhyme.
06.  View: : Cart.
07.  Hart: : Of Midlothian.
08.  Creation: : ist bollocks.
09.  End: : Game.
10.  Fortune: : Cookies.

Unconscious Mutterings

| posted by Simon | 12:26 pm | 0 comments

Thursday, February 26, 2004  

The man from Japan speaks !

Once in an age the curtains of mystery are pulled back, revealed is the truth. If you only hear it second hand it loses it's potency. You must be there at the first showing to comprehend the gravity of what has been said.

Click, read, and remember you saw it here first !

| posted by Simon | 12:27 pm | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 24, 2004  

The poetry of chance.

One of the reasons I love the internet is the way you can jump around after following just one link. I had a visitor who left a pin in my guestmap. Chris from Sydney, he made me laugh. Then I noticed a reference to a poet and thought I'd check him out. I found some amazing stuff and spent too long reading it, considering I was at work. It was worth any hassle that would come my way. Here is a small sample:

Clouds above the sea - Philip Levine.

My father and mother, two tiny figures,
side by side, facing the clouds that move
in from the Atlantic. August, '33.
The whole weight of the rain to come, the weight
of all that has fallen on their houses
gathers for a last onslaught, and yet they
hold, side by side, in the eye of memory.
What was she wearing, you ask, what did he
say to make the riding clouds hold their breath?
Our late August afternoons were chilly
in America, so I shall drape her throat
in a silken scarf above a black dress.

I could give her a rope of genuine pearls
as a gift for bearing my father's sons,
and let each pearl glow with a child's fire.
I could turn her toward you now with a smile
so that we might joy in her constancy,
I could bury the past in dust rising,
dense rain falling, and the absence of sky
so that you could turn this page and smile.
My father and mother, two tiny figures,
side by side, facing the clouds that move
in from the Atlantic. They are silent
under the whole weight of the rain to come.

| posted by Simon | 10:16 pm | 0 comments

Monday, February 23, 2004  

A decade ?

It doesn't seem like that long. Check it out !

If you haven't heard any of his stuff, there's plenty on kazaa. Get some and make your own mind up.

| posted by Simon | 6:28 pm | 0 comments

Sunday, February 22, 2004  

Lists v compilations

I've noticed a tendency in a few of my female acquaintances to make lists. A shopping list, a xmas pressie list, a list of all the fucking list they have made. It's not the kind of thing I would normally do, and I don't know any other blokes who would. However, yesterday whilst a friend ran me to Carlisle to collect something we were listening to a compilation CD he had. It struck me that this is the male equivalent of the list, except far more in depth. We discussed the best approach to construct the perfect compilation. Whether cross genre was acceptable, if you could have massive jumps in tempo with adjacent songs, and what was the maximum number of songs per artist. It was generally accepted that to have the same song twice on one compilation was a grave error of schoolboy proportions, and having Elastica following Sting stretched the genre/tempo argument to the limit. I spent quite a bit of time compiling my list of all-time favourite songs (the list changes daily). What surprised me was that they would probably make a really crap compilation, too many different styles. Overall nowadays, I tend to listen to chilled out music, I love Nora Jones, Dido, David Gray, Sara McLachlen, Damien Rice and a host of others, but ! A compilation to be listened to in the car must be upbeat and have that sing-along quality. Here is my next driving compilation:

01. The Doors - Alabama song.
01. PJ Harvey - Good fortune.
03. The Who - Substitute.
04. Stone Roses - Ten-storey love song.
05. Black Crows - Too hard to handle.
06. Van Morrison - Brown eyed girl.
07. Foo Fighters - Everlong.
08. Oasis - She's electric.
09. Levellers - Dirty Davey.
10. Louis Prima - Angelina zooma zooma.
11. The Monkeys - Last train to Clarksville.
12. The Smiths - Panic.
12. The Skids - Into the valley.
13. Steve Harley &TCR - Make me smile.
14. The Devine Comedy - Gin soaked boy.
15. Animals - House of the rising sun.
16. Stranglers - Golden brown.
17. James - Sit down.

Singing your bollocks off while you're driving is ace ! Stick your ultimate playlist in the comment box; I need ideas for my next marathon kazaa session.

| posted by Simon | 9:59 pm | 0 comments

Friday, February 20, 2004  


Due to my recent catastrophic computer failure I have lost my entire email address book. If I had your email address, and you want me to carry on having it, drop me a line at this address.

Similarly, if I didn’t have your email address and you want me to have it, drop me a line at the above link.

If you’ve a mind to, you could add me to your msn contacts list and have a crack in real-time.

Isn’t communication fantastic ?

| posted by Simon | 7:38 pm | 0 comments

Here comes the rain again.

After installing my rain gauges on Monday I left them to it. I suppose putting them at work wasn’t such a bad idea, living in an old church brings to mind ancient floods, and I’m sure there’s more than a shred of truth in the story behind the biblical diluvian fantasy. So, work was a better place, and to my amazement nobody had fucked with my equipment.

Day 1. The open-topped gauge had 9 mm of rainwater and the funnel-topped gauge had 8 mm of rainwater. Funny, I thought ! The open-topped gauge was supposed to have less, in order to show evaporation losses. Let’s look at the evidence.

1. The water in the open-topped gauge wasn’t a pale yellow colour.
2. The funnel-topped gauge didn’t have a small hole 8 mm up the side.

Conclusion; it had only just finished raining when I checked them, and the open topped gauge had done a slightly better job at catching.

Day 2. Fuck all, it didn’t rain.

Day 3. Not a solitary cloud on the horizon.

Day 4. Again, nothing.

Day 5. Sun is shinin’ in the sky, there aint a cloud in sight, it’s stopped rainin’ everybody’s in the play. And don’t you know, it’s a beautiful new day aaay.

I’m forming a plan to ensure we have the best summer on record, I suggest you all get building.

| posted by Simon | 11:39 am | 0 comments

Monday, February 16, 2004  

Rain gauge.

After sending my first assessment to my tutor, I embarked on block 2 of this years foray into the world of the Open University. I had only just started when the book asked me to do my first practical assignment. The rain gauge.

In fact I had to build two, one with an open top and one with a funnel top. This, I was told, will illustrate how much water is lost through evaporation. The design and construction of this equipment was not what bothered me, but more where I was going to put the fucking things. You see, we live on the third floor, in the roof space of an old church. Not many places to erect a piece of metrological apparatus on the roof of an old church.

After much thought I decided to do it at work. So this morning I constructed the two bluetealeaf patented rain gauges and half buried them, in a mound of earth, in the works garden. I know when I get back there on Wednesday that someone will have either (a) pissed in them, or (b) nicked them and put something hideous in their place.

I have a feeling that this course is going to be very trying.

| posted by Simon | 10:55 pm | 0 comments

Saturday, February 14, 2004  

St Valentines day.

I have never really seen the need to buy soppy cards accompanied by chocolates, flowers and all manner of fluffy members of the animal kingdom. I have told Tracy I love her, every day for nearly 21 years. I don't feel the need to prove it, to her or me. Instead, a poem:

Valentine - Carol Ann Duffy.

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

| posted by Simon | 12:10 am | 0 comments

Friday, February 13, 2004  

Pear shaped.

I finally got around to building my new puter, same guts but a new case and dvd re-writer. I took me about two hours of carefull cajoling, and about two hours of shouting and swearing, finally it was done.

It worked for about twenty minutes, then shut itself down. I tried again, same thing. I tried again, nothing. It just sat there and refused to cooperate. I dug out an old 850 athalon and tried to boot up with that, nothing. I found an old 10 gig hard drive and after formatting, intalling windows 98, then upgrading to XP it finally worked.

The only problem I have now, I have lost all my programs. The old drive will read in the new system but all the applications are fucked. My files are intact, so I suppose I should be grateful. Ah well, start again.

| posted by Simon | 11:16 pm | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 10, 2004  


Visitors that is.

The lucky visitor who clocked up that milestone ?

Little miss s.

That’s about 50 people per day, since I started this paltry chronicle nearly 2 years ago. Thank you all those who take the time to keep coming back, and if you just drop in accidentally have a go at the puzzle, no one has managed to get to stage 2 yet.

| posted by Simon | 11:44 pm | 0 comments

Ten reasons....

Why the 80s wasn’t the best decade:

01.  Tom Baker not being Dr. Who.
02.  Mick Jagger & David Bowie.
03.  Relegation x 2.
04.  TR7.
05.  Timmy Mallet.
06.  Dunlop green flash.
07.  Poll tax.
08.  John Lennon.
09.  The A - team.
10.  Our tune.

| posted by Simon | 6:35 pm | 0 comments

Saturday, February 07, 2004  

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves.

Why do Pink Beyonce and Brittney need to prostitute themselves for a soft drink company ? Haven’t these three overrated bints got enough fucking cash ? You would think that somewhere at the back of their minds would be a shred of artistic integrity, but no, the almighty dollar wins through every fucking time. I suppose it’s fitting that these three media whores were chosen to stand partially clad in gladiatorial dress hawking soft drinks to a generation of over weight, under educated, future consumers. Their work is the musical equivalent of Pepsi. Sickly, full of froth and ultimately disposable.

Another thing, who sold them the rights to “we will rock you” ? It’s a fuckin’ travesty. Greed has got to be one of the most despicable of human traits, what makes you rich celebrities sell yourselves. ? You have enough cash, quit and give someone else a chance you greedy fucks. At least then we may get some original adverts, funny or well thought out. Not “I know, we get Pink Beyonce and Brittney to dress up in skimpy outfits, put a nice heavy beat in there, fuck me we could sell anything.”

We will, we will rock you. Drink Cola.
We will, we will rock you. Eat burgers.
We will, we will rock you. The war was justified.
We will, we will rock you. Smoke cigarettes.
We will, we will rock you. If you’re not with us, you’re against us.
We will, we will rock you. Eat burgers.
We will, we will rock you. Drink cola.

“Mummy, what did you do when I was a little girl ?”

“Well sweetheart, I sold my body to strangers to pay our rent and put food on the table, there was no work because all the companies had moved to the Far East. It was cheaper. I couldn’t afford to go to college and get a decent education. After your daddy died in the war we had no money, so I went on the game. I used to lie there while men used my body for their carnal pleasure, gave me cash then went home to their families.”

“Gee mom, you were a whore, I bet you wished you had been beautiful and talented like Brittney or Beyonce and achieved the American dream.”

“Yes sweetheart, that’s right, I’m such a shit mother.”

| posted by Simon | 11:33 pm | 0 comments

Poetic license.

It was 1984, February the 8th to be precise. Thatch was doing her best to make sure Orwell's vision came true. Nena was singing about red balloons and I took my driving test for the second time.

The only thing I knew about Withington was that the Princes Park Way ran through it. I knew it was going to be my day about five minutes into the test, a dog ran out into the road from between two parked cars and I executed a perfect emergency stop. I could see the examiner was impressed, although the dog looked less so. From the start I felt better than the first time, the bloke was chatty, asking me about my job and generally putting me at ease. We came to the junction with the Princess Park Way, a very busy road, and I hesitated a little. The examiner said, "Just get out among them and get your foot down". That was it; from there on I aced it. I even did well on the Highway Code. We got back to the test centre and he told me I had passed, he didn't make a meal of either, just "Well done lad, you've passed". It's difficult to explain the sense of achievement; it's probably one of the most nerve-wracking tests you can take. The pink slip just didn't do it justice. Back in work I was brought back down to earth, the conversation with the garage manager, if memory serves was:

Me: I passed.
Gm: Good.
Me: (grin).
Gm: Take the yellow Escort to ATS for a front tyre.
Gm: Pick up that paint from Brown Brothers at the bottom of Liverpool Street.
Gm: Then take the Granada to Quicks at Cheadle.
Gm: Oh, and I need the old Cortina fetching from Harry Jackson's.
Me: (!)
Gm: Well, go on then.

I did, and I'm still loving it.

More recently I had the pleasure of taking a forklift truck driving course. This took place on a windswept car park in Stalybridge, in the depths of winter. There were six of us and one lifter, if you weren't on it you were stood freezing you bollocks off watching someone else on it. Backwards and forwards through a chicane made of old pallets. About half way through the week-long course one of the managers came out to see what was going on, when he found out, he took it upon himself to quiz us on general health and safety information. The question "What steps would you take if you discovered a fire in the warehouse ?" Was posed to one particularly disinterested process worker, the answer "Fuckin' big ones" was met with howls of laughter from the five of us stood there. The manager, however was less than impressed and sacked the bloke on the spot. One down five to go eh ? Someone muttered. The manager glowered at us and stalked off back to his office. The sacked bloke was reinstated and all six of us passed. Those were the days, when you take the piss out of a manager and get away with it. Some things never change though; today's managers have no sense of humour either. If a manager smiles at you, check your back for knives, then check your wallet.

On the subject of passing tests, I may well regale you with my first aid course memories. Cutting edge blogging eh ?

| posted by Simon | 12:49 am | 0 comments

Friday, February 06, 2004  

December 1983.

It was a particularly memorable month, me and my new family moved into our first house just in time for Christmas. Friends and family had all helped to decorate and furnish our little council semi. It was just far enough away from our respective families, that we weren’t forever “round there”. We had a real Christmas tree, this was a big treat for me, my mum and dad had never had a real one, we had a shitty little silver thing that didn’t smell at all like I wanted it to. Our tree had a special bauble just for the tax dodger “Baby Simon’s first Christmas”. We still have it.

I worked for one of the major cigarette manufacturers, in the garage. They had kindly offered to pay for my driving lessons and my test. They wanted this done quickly so I was put in for a cancellation at any test centre in the Manchester area. I found out the day before that my test would be in Sale, at half past three in the afternoon. So, my test would be in a place I had never been, and would take place in the rapidly fading light of a late December afternoon. Bugger ! It got worse; my examiner was a weedy little man with a Hitler mustache. He said very little, even his instructions were minimal. We hit the one-way system about fifteen minutes into the test, by now it was almost dark and I had done surprisingly well. I had aced my emergency stop and my hill start, and we were on our way to do a three-point turn. We came off the one-way system and onto a very wide main road, Hitler asked me to take the next turn on the right, I strained my eyes into the gloom and saw the street about a hundred yards up the road. Mirror, signal, maneuver – oh bollocks it’s someone’s driveway, it was fucking huge and even had its own streetlights. The one I wanted was another fifty yards further along, so I speeded up and tried again. The little mustachioed cunt failed me for “incorrect speed on approach to a junction”. I swear he took great delight in saying “I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Morris, on this occasion you have failed”.

One thing they never tell you, when you pass your test you aren’t insured to drive the car you learned in. Your instructor has to drive you back. When I pulled up in the works car park behind the wheel, I didn’t have to say anything, everyone knew. I’m not accustomed to failure, although at the time it felt like I may be reacquainted with it on many occasions.

The year improved before it slipped seamlessly into 1984.

I had a couple more lessons, and then found out my next test would be in Withington, on the eighth of February at ten thirty in the morning.

| posted by Simon | 3:44 am | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 04, 2004  

Football post.

I think I just watched one of the greatest comebacks in football history. We were three nil down at half time, and somehow managed to get a man sent off after the half time whistle had blown. When the second half kicked off a different City had turned up, we were first to every ball and played with a pride and passion that has been sadly lacking in recent weeks. Then we got a goal back, then a second. I nearly blew a blood vessel when we equalised, so you can imagine my reaction when the ball nestled in the bottom left hand corner of Spurs net for the fourth and winning goal. Not even Kasey Keller's bald pate could outshine that performance. I'm hoarse, my arms and legs are killing me, but I have a big smile. Only City can put you through the whole gamut of emotions within 90 minutes. It's infuriating why, with the prospect of a fifth round tie at the swamp, City played with such stunning disinterest in the first 45 minutes. Playing only for their pride, and for the pride of the travelling blues. City managed to snatch victory, not only from the jaws of defeat, but from a game that had been devoured, digested and shat out the other end. I will remember this game for a long, long time.

| posted by Simon | 10:27 pm | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 03, 2004  

Confused ? You will be.

I have just listened to Blair on the news. He’s said that if he had known before hand that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he would have gone to war anyway. Has this man no respect for the people who he is purported to serve ? Everyone is well aware that he knew full well there were no WMDs. He went to war anyway, he obviously thinks we are all too fuckin’ dumb to realise this. So let me get this straight, we went to war with a country that is no threat to us, a country that has never participated in a terrorist attack on us or our allies, and a country that we have helped to cripple, over the last twelve years, with inhumane sanctions. When we do go to war we kill civilians and bomb schools and hospitals, and only when the war is over do we find the terrible figurehead in a hole in the ground. Well done Tony, you really made this a country to be proud of, and I bet you sleep like a fucking baby don’t you ?

The bit that baffles me is why, why is Blair taking us down this route ? Is for the kudos of being a tough guy, or is because Dubya has promised him something ? Or, is he just a lunatic hell-bent on taking us down the same path as the US, getting everyone to hate us. Hang on, that could be it. He has heard Fergie saying for years that United win ‘cos everyone hates them. Tony Blair wants Britain to be like Man U. Oh fuck ! Where’s my passport ?

I suppose it’s a logical progression in these times of corporate power, to turn Britain into a PLC. Blair would be our CEO, Gordon Brown as finance director –

Gordon Brown
texture like sun

Lays me down
with my mind she runs

Throughout the night
no need to fight

Never a frown
with Gordon Brown,
Ev'ry time
just like the last

On his ship tied to the mast

To distant lands
takes both my hands

Never a frown
with Gordon Brown,
Gordon Brown
finer temptress

Through the age he's heading west,
From far away
stays for a day

Never a frown
with Gordon Brown,
Never a frown with Gordon Brown
Never a frown with Gordon Brown.

No I’m not suggesting our Chancellor is a smack dealer, but it would put a fair bit of cash in his red box !

I’m so confused my head keeps fucking off on tangents. I’m getting deja vous, and the rabbits are back in my dreams. I was so happy on that bright May morning back in 97, who would have thought it would come to this…..I hate him more than I hate bitchfuckwhorecunt Thatcher !

| posted by Simon | 9:00 pm | 0 comments
a good book
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