Wednesday, 30 July 2008

"Messy, isn't it?"

Richard Brautigan! That was him. The poet I was writing about last night that I had done a project on in Art School. Richard Brautigan. After a while of googling various phrases including mayonnaise with poetry, I finally found him. It's all coming back to me now. By the looks of things he had a bit of a tough life and as a result was slightly disturbed in the head (a nutter). He was an alcoholic, paranoid schizophrenic brought up by abusive, alcoholic parents and then put through a number of years of electroconvulsive treatment in his twenties. His biggest seller was called 'Trout Fishing in America' and that's where all my ideas of mayonnaise jars in libraries stemmed from. It's a book about American society and Brautigan's personal take on it at the time of writing in the sixties. My final project involved setting up a small library in his name and using old style library cards, the kind printed on easily worn out brown card that used to slot into each other. Brautigan commited suicide in 1984 at the age of 49 by shooting himself in the head with a .44 Magnum and it was a good few months till anyone found his body. His suicide note simply said "Messy, isn't it?".

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

One flamin' headless chicken please

Woke up at two minutes past ten this morning. I started work at ten... or rather was supposed to. Dived out of bed, jumped into the shower, brushed the old Hampstead Heath, flew down the old apples and pears (why am I talking in the cockney rhyming slang?) and into the car. Got to work at twenty five past only to find Felix was in a meeting so I think I managed to get away with it. I did stay later than everyone else though so I did make up for it. Don't you just hate it when you wake up late though? Rushing about the place like a flamin' headless chicken! A flamin' headless chicken... I bet they serve them in KFC. "One flamin' headless chicken please. Don't hold back with the cleaver now!" I've never had a KFC before but I suspect their chickens are headless most of the time but the flamin' part would be interesting. Straight off the grill, or the BBQ, or the spit then depending on what sauce you put on it the flames either extinguish or get worse. A good, spicey HP sauce to make the flames go higher or a creamy mayonnaise type stuff to put the flames out. Hate mayonnaise. Can't stand the stuff. I remember a project I worked on in art school that involved taking lots of photographs of jars of mayonnaise dotted about the Art school's library propping up books. Gawd knows why. Must have been another gawd awful art school project. It did not involve chickens though. Thinking back I remember it also involved coffee cups with plants growing out of them?! My daily dose of caffeine had obviously been exceeded that day. I think the project was based on some American poet... I'll need to look that up as it's annoying me now. American poet, mayonnaise, bookends... Talking of books I'm off to get back to my current perusal. Michael Palin's 'Sahara'. Yes, I know that was back in 2002 but I've still not read it. After meeting him at the end of last year and getting him to sign his latest - 'New Europe' - I thought I'd better read Sahara first before I go reading the latest. Ease my guilt for having not paid enough attention before! Long Way Round is also being repeated on the tv at the moment so I've been watching that again after having just finished McGregor and Boorman's 'Long Way Down', their own record of their trip from John O'Groats to Cape Town on their trusty motorbikes. I did watch 'Long Way Round' the first time round but it was such a great programme and journey it's easy to get caught up in it all over again. Fantastic. They were up against the clock on their travels too just like I was this morning except I wasn't going to Cape Town, I was going to Blantyre and I wasn't on a motor bike, I was in a wee clio, and I didn't leave from John O'Groats...etc

Monday, 28 July 2008

Dark Knight

Well, 'The Dark Knight' was indeed excellent so if any of you are considering it, it's well worth checking out. Much more a character piece than your traditional 'superhero' movie. Ledger, Bale, Caine, Eckhart and Oldman are all excellent and there's also more than one surprise cameos so look out for them (including some girl from Hollyoaks - of all programmes?!). Some of the camera work is just stunning. There's some great bird's eye shots as Batman glides over Hong Kong and 'Gotham City' which is more commonly known as Chicago. The film is also being shown in Imax theatres across the country. I imagine that would be very cool.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to listen to the Zutons' new album.

Friday, 25 July 2008

On Bale

The sun was out for a change today but unfortunately I was busy in the office as per usual making fantastic looking adverts. Trapped in the office while the sun blazes outside. Hopefully the sun will stay out for another wander round Glasgow tomorrow. The Glasgow Green Show is on, birthday presents need to be purchased and I'm meeting Ka for a spot of lunch after she visits yet more Wedding dress shops with the Mums. Fortunately this is one part of 'the big W' which I don't need to participate in. Ka is bad enough when she's shopping for a pair of socks!
'The Dark Knight' is out over the weekend too so I'm hoping to catch that at some point. The first of the new Batman movies, 'Batman Begins' really breathed new life into the character and their stories and apparently this second installment, again from the great Christopher Nolan, is even better. Nolan directed the brilliant 'Memento', the dark (literally and descriptively) 'Insomnia' and the engaging 'The Prestige' which, like the new movie, starred Christian Bale and Michael Caine. None have surpassed 'Memento' for me, yet. Bale had adventures of his own in a police station earlier in the week assisting officers with their enquiries against allegations that the actor had assaulted his mother. Sounds like they just had a blazing row to me. Bale turned up at a press conference for the new movie the next day looking 'moody'. I'm sorry, but does he have another expression? Don't get me wrong, he's a good actor, (his performance in 'American Psycho' was outstanding) but in all the promo interviews I've seen he looks like he'd rather be somewhere elsewhere... maybe jumping about a tower block wielding an axe perhaps?!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Independent state

Someone said to me in the office if the picture of the bullshit alert in the last post was a warning of the contents of the writing... Needless to say it was not. It's only an illustration of the afore mentioned 'red alert' which Davey wakens the office with in times of stress. Not that Davey ever gets stressed, I should point out. He's generally a very laid back, amiable fellow... usually. However, if you happen to get involved in a conversation on the possibility of an Independent Scotland things could get nasty! For this he feels quite strongly about and for the past two weeks has created a independent monster of Andrea who is now campaigning at every tea break, casting aside our crosswords and inconsequential talk in favour of speeches on the lost wealth of Scotland and the possibilities of the heights that our small country could reach. Me? I'm not sure I know enough on the subject - I'm just not sure why we should bother. Is everything not fine as it is? Or is that just lazy talk? Would we be any better off? Or are the folk screaming for independence fuelling the fires of separatism and the long, now boring, supposed feud with the english. I've never understood all that either. Personally I think England and it's people are generally great, as are Wales and Ireland. Why look for independence from a Great Britain? I am interested in reading more about it and defining how I feel about it all, but at the moment... I can't say it's at the top of my to-do list! It's not as if it's going to happen anytime soon is it? Or is it? The much debated over referendum is taking place in 2010 apparently. Just around the corner really...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Red alert

Waiting on ads. Today I'm on planning in the office which basically involves building the classified pages of the newspapers and sending them over to outputting. A few folk are on holiday over here today so I'm helping out on 'the other side'. The planning side. The dark side. In planning today I'm sitting opposite the exuberant Davey and the wonderful Linda. When conversations get a bit too 'diverse' or any outsiders start giving any complications Davey has a large red button on his desk with the word 'bullshit' over it. In the event of a personnel, conversation, or sales 'panic' emergency Davey gives the alarm a good smack and a loud alert blares out from the small speakers underneath the button alerting everyone in the surrounding vicinity to the presence of (you guessed it) 'bullshit'. Handy in times of 'crisis' which Tuesday's quite often do have.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Magical birthdays and barbeques

Monday morning. A bright, sunny Monday morning though unfortunately for me it's spent in the office of course. The clearest blue sky there's been in months.
Happy Birthday to Aunt Linda who had (let's just say) a milestone birthday yesterday! We were round at my Mum and Dad's last night for a BBQ and Linda and Tom popped in after their dinner to pick up the dugs, Sally and Jake who we were looking after whilst they dined. Sally apparently didn't want to leave as when Tom took the dogs out to the car Sally nipped back into the house via the front door, toddled into the living room and plonked herself down in a corner again. Linda had to give her a wee pull in the right direction. With Dad's cooking at the BBQ who could blame her though? The hosts with the most as always. Great food served with a nice red. Dad had even made a jelly with strawberries which for some reason triggered a conversation on the size of people's boobs. Apparently using malt makes boobs bigger according to my ever wise mother and using olive oil on your eyelashes makes them longer..? I knew carrots supposedly helped with night vision but that's about as much as I know when it comes to the magical, mystical aspects of supermarket products.
Talking about magical, Ka and myself also seen WallE at the weekend. The latest Pixar animation about the last robot on Earth still trundling around, long after the departure of the human race, tidying the junk and debris that we'd left behind. A great wee family movie with some brilliant moments and fabulous animation.

Friday, 18 July 2008

A good sniff

Friday night. The weekend and I'm knackered. Don't think I've recovered from T in the Park last weekend?! Glad it was last weekend though as the rain has just starting pouring here, makes you appreciate the weather we did get. There was also good news during the week that the stab victim that was attacked at the festival going to the aid of a girlfriend is making good progress now in hospital in Dundee so a big 'Get Well Soon' should go to him.
Whilst writing I'd like to say a big Happy Birthday to Sharon Colman who hits the big 3-0 this weekend. A great mate from Art School and one of the finest nutters I know (funnily enough from Balloch). Also the fantastical Colin McGarva. Ka's bro who is out and about touring the land at the moment with his theatre show but who'll be back home at the end of July. If any of you are reading 'Happy Birthday'! Get you both a pint next time I see you...or maybe just a coke for you Sharon...
Personally, at the moment, I prefer a good old sniff of the Olbus Oil. I'm loaded with a b**ta*d of a cold and its playing havoc with my throat, nose, sleep, brain...Headaches - the kind that seemingly pulsate your brain and keep you awake at night making you growl and swear at your partner because they're sleeping happily having a great time in dreamland. Which is exactly the reason why I'm knackered. So tonight I'm also sniffing a fine Stowells wine in the hope that that has more of an effect than the Olbus Oil.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Tremendous T

T in the Park 2008 was fantastically, bristeringly brilliant. Seen loads of bands and enjoyed much music.
We left early on Friday morning to avoid any traffic queues and got to Balado Airfield in plently of time for the campsite gates to open. After straining much muscle in transporting our provisions and camping equipment we set up camp in the Indigo zone and whiled away the day with a few beers getting to know the folk camping around us who consisted of a few pleasant nutters from Balloch (funny that - nutters from Balloch;-), a bunch of late teen girls who liked to talk about men's private parts, a bunch of late teen guys who liked throwing themselves over tents, a bunch of guys who liked their lager at 8 in the morning and a couple of forty-fifty year old dudes who had dyed hair and thought they were hip. All mostly nice folk though which always makes things a bit more bearable. The Arena then opened at fiveish and Friday's music kicked off with the Wombats, followed by Kids in Glass Houses, Stereophonics, the Chemical Brothers and The Verve. The sun managed to fight the clouds off a few times throughout Friday and Saturday not emerging fully till Sunday. The highlight on Friday was most probably The Chemical Brothers 'Hey Boy' and the Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony' after which we trekked back to our tent.
After a mostly sleepless night Saturday's line up for us was a bit of Eddy Grant, The Rocket Summer, The Feeling, Biffy Clyro, We Are Scientists, The Pigeon Detectives, The Fratellis, Rage Against the Machine and then The Kaiser Chiefs.
Biffy Clyro and The Pigeon Detectives were both great highlights for me, the Kaisers were also good but not as good as when I'd previously seen them in the Carling Academy. They extended two songs by about five minutes each forcing the crowds to chant the same line over and over. Gets a bit tiresome after a while...The Pigeon Detectives earlier were great. Loud, energised, fun, brash and cool and the lead singer Matt Bowman had a great time with the audience.

On Sunday, we seen The Ting Tings, British Sea Power, Vampire Weekend, Amy Winehouse, The Zutons, a few songs from REM and then the Prodigy. REM and The Prodigy's time's clashed as did more than a few of the other bands so we had to make a decision! REM sounded great but were on at the same time as The Prodigy and as I had never seen them live we dived over to the NME/Radio 1 tent for them just before they started and was not disappointed by their performance.

Two totally different kinds of music on the two different stages to finish off the festival which is probably the best but most difficult decision to make when you like both!! I'll watch REM on the TV though. Amy Winehouse was also good and to my ears much improved from when I heard her live at Glastonbury. Good to see her on the stage again. The Zutons were as always brilliant as well. God damn it - everything was brilliant! Can't complain...apart from the toilet situation. The portaloos in the campsite were just atrocious and the ones in the Arena, come 5pm, not much better! Boggin' but I suppose you have to expect that with a festival of that magnitude. It was Ka's first camping experience so I don't think she was too enthralled with the prospect of going holidaying in a tent again. I'm trying to reassure her festival camping is in no way the same. Tickets go on sale today for T in the Park 2009. Looking forward to it!....oh wait I'll be on honeymoon...I'll MAKE IT the honeymoon! Yeah, great idea, hold on I'll just go and suggest it to Ka...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Tomorrow in the Park

Well, tomorrow morning Ka and myself will be setting off to T in the Park in the wee red clio. Watch out balado, here we come! Camping for the weekend too which should be interesting considering Ka has never camped before in her life! There's a great line up of music - looking forward to Rage Against the Machine, Primal Scream, Vampire Weekend and REM especially. Really curious about Vampire Weekend as they sound very Talking Heads like. But there's just loads. Probably won't manage to see everyone I've got half an interest in. Hopefully the weather holds out to some extent and we don't get completely soaked, even if Gareth in the work wishes it. He seems to think I've went out and bought a shit tent. He obviously has no faith in my tent buying skills. It was a proper £25 quid tent we bought so hopefully we'll be well sheltered from the stormy nights! None of your £10 Somerfield specials here thank you very much. We've got our wellies, rainjackets, torches, alcohol and mallets at the ready so bring it on!!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Looking forward to T

The weather does not bode well for our weekend in Balado at T in the's pouring as I write. It was sunny around one this afternoon which raised my spirits a little but now it's peeing down again. It would be nice to get dry weather for the whole Festival camping experience but I doubt it's going to happen. Of course, there are some that would say rain and mud ARE PART of the whole festival experience. It's only monday I suppose and I'm sure it'll be great anyway, come rain or shine. Looking forward to seeing the Fratellis, REM, the Kaisers and Amy Winehouse to name just a few. There are literally loads of bands I've been meaning to see for ages playing at the festival and some at similar times so there may have to be a coin flipped to decide which tent to head for. On the sunday night REM are up against the Prodigy and even though REM are great I've already seen them live and will probably opt for the Prodigy. However, I'd love to see REM again... decisions, decisions. Still got three shifts to go before then though and a new tent to practise putting up!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Brilliant Adventure

Ended up in the Casino on wednesday night after a few drinks in Bunker and then the Garage. Colin is leaving for a new life in Warrington so we had to go somewhere for a few drinks to send him off! Afterwards, Chaz and myself headed for the casino. It's very easy to see how people get hooked on gambling. Chaz was teaching me the ways of the roulette table whilst trying to sell the Floor Manager a car, surprisingly enough. He failed with the car selling but did make a little money himself at the table and managed to teach me a thing or two on the rules of the table. Managed to make some money out of it - not a lot but the night out was paid for. It all just seems so strange to me that you make money from placing counters on a game table. But I suppose that's how these places pull you in. The occasional dabble is good fun though. We eventually dragged ourselves away from the spinning roulette and walked out into the early morning light getting home at five in the morning.
Next morning I read the interesting article From Sunday's Mail on Sunday on the god like music maestro that is David Bowie. In the piece Bowie himself picked out 12 tracks for the free CD to accompany the article and wrote about each song explaining why he chose them as favourites. The article is now online. Click here to read it.
Talking of 'Loving the Alien' its the final episode of the current series of Doctor Who tomorrow night. Will Tennant regenerate? We all flamin' hope not! The guy's a brilliant actor and a brilliant Doctor. He did take a little getting used to after Eccleston's grumpier approach to the character but not long. Personally I think he'll survive. Don't know how but that's up to Russell T Davies (I do have a few theories knocking about though). Colin came up with the best theory on Wednesday night - the TARDIS itself would stop the regeneration and come to his rescue! Again, don't know how.
Before that however, there are paintings to be hung and preparations for next weekends trip to Balado.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Quantum of Solace

Busy day at work running from desk to desk doing outputting, ads and planning! Yes, I know I'm a mug but supposedly the more jobs you learn to adapt to the more useful (and safer) you are. Not sure I believe that though...they could just be taking advantage of my 'muggish' nature. Nevermind, the rest of the ad team were twiddling their fingers today so it kept me busily occupied. Some of them were even looking for Halloween costumes?! Halloween costumes I ask ye?! Yes, the year is toddling along at a pretty fast pace but come on - Halloween's at the end of October!
When it comes to surfing in the work there are only so many pages 'that cannot be displayed' you can look at. We still have IE 5 in the office which nowadays is a bit old hat for the old surfing but our office macs are too old for anything else. That's one thing I love about my mac at home - none of those old display problems. Some of the browsers in the work don't even display this blogging page properly?! Imagine that...
Did manage to have a look at the new Bond trailer on my lunch break though...