Archive for September, 2005

Moving

Friday, September 30th, 2005

I’ve been dreaming of moving from Bignjuicyville this week. Itchy feet n all that. I think I’d like to live somewhere that has more natural beauty than here. It would be very uplifting to look out of the window and see majestic nature, not brick walls. A better climate might help too. On the other hand I love the buzz of being in a city. The sense that you can go out at any time of day or night and find something interesting going on. I also like gritty urban anonymity and the patina of thousands of lives lived out in ordinary surroundings. How to combine all those elements in one?

Squid u like
I felt sorry for the giant squid caught by Japanese scientists this week. The poor thing had to rip off one of it’s own tentacles to escape from the bait they had set to catch it for photography. Can squids survive losing a tentacle? Given the sensitivity of the tentacles it must have suffered.

Bum
It’s OK to report hideous news events about bombing, mutilation, murder and sexual abuse at any time on radio, tv and the web. It’s not OK, though, to play a humourous advert on the radio to try and prevent men from dying from prostate cancer. It’s been banned by the ‘Radio Advertising Clearance Centre’ until after 9pm when of course all the men who would benefit from hearing it are bound to be listening – right?
Stupid arseholes.

Hear the advert.

Bush
Elvis are you out there somewhere
Looking like a happy man?
In the snow with Rosebud
And king of the mountain

Kate Bush’s new single – first from the new album Aerial – preview. Listening to it feels like she’s never been away.

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Bit lost for words today so thought I’d share a beautiful autumnal painting by Monsieur Monet. Clicky for a big one.

We are the changemakers

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

[ That speech in full ]
“Yes folks, we bought a load of MDF from MFI. Some two-be-fours and a hundredweight of galvanised flange pins. A large vat of ready mix from Travis-Perkins [ VAT not included ]. We built a New Britain but we haven’t finished yet. We spent 50 billion on Filipino nurses and laptops for Mr Timpkins the Teacher to play games on. There’s a lovely big plastic wok in Greenwich for Bob Geldof to sing in. [ No one goes there so it's safe ]. Have you noticed how everyone smiles more since I privatised the dental service? eh? eh ? can you hear me at the back?

Y’know it’s been tough at times. I was only saying to m’friend George the other day, ‘Just when y’think you’ve secured y’legacy, some idiot starts a war and it all blows up in y’face’. Would y’like summat from the trolley? Have y’seen it?

I have personally taken charge of everything at all times. Later on I’ll be serving Lattes and organic NewJamieMuffins in the McWorkers Asylum Cafe out back – do join Cherry and Me for a frothy one – do. Hospitals transformed. A million new treasury tags. More bleepy things for the intensive care units than under the last fifty years of the tories.

And have you seen the gob on our Gordon? Like the firmly smacked bumcheeks of wayward supervixen. The most successful Chancellor since Norman Lamont pretended to exist. Taxes down. Investment up. Living la vida loca.

But we haven’t finished yet. Our Work is Not Yet Done. We must reach out to those inner city sheep with no grass. Those toddlers driven to a life of crime by teenage crackhead mothers in burberry caps and fake juicy couture. Education is the key.
More schools. Less teachers. Papa was a rollin stone.

Education has been two of what we did. The third was education. Ruth Kelly has lips of steel. I owe it all to her.

And so to Iraq. I can announce today that Lord Fundbucket has secured for the exclusive use of retired British Prime Ministers, a converted WMD bunker / holiday home in central Baghdad. Cherry n me will be leaving on a jet plane sooner rather than later darlings. It’s been real.
Later kids.”

Legalities
If anyone can point me at a superstar solicitor – [ ie someone who knows what they are doing and is preferably not a public school boy/girl ] – who can help me kick the ass of an evil grasping troll – please email juice at ze domain name above. Ta.

You know the summer is over when
You get a snivelling cold. [ Achooo ]

P&T

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

When I first visited New York, one of the things that I noticed was the direct way that people speak to one another. Standing in a deli behind an overcaffeinated businessman whilst waiting to be served, I was taken aback at the way he addressed the sandwich hand serving him. No ‘please’ or ‘thankyou’, just a stream of, ‘Gimme’ X , or ‘Gimme’ Y, ‘Gimme’ Z, followed by a barely audible acknowledgement after slamming the money on the counter. The server didn’t blink. I got the impression that this sort of treatment was normal. Trying to enter the UN complex carrying my lunch in a paper bag proved interesting. A five foot nothing musclebound Helga barked at me before I even stepped over the diplomatic border, ‘YOU MUST CHECK THE FOOD’ whilst pointing at me aggressively. She’d obviously been briefed on the Al Quaida dodgy looking Irish bloke with exploding sandwich plot. Her desire was for me to deposit my lunch in a nearby UN lunch storage bunker just inside the gate before entering the hallowed portals. And there was me thinking I could eat my Triple Decker Whammy Combo with extra everything whilst sitting in the General Assembly. New Yorkers seem to use the P&T words very sparingly. At least in public situations.

I’ve noticed more and more that everyday courtesies in the UK are being eroded. When I phone my bank they call me by my first name whilst omitting to tell me theirs. [ I always like to reciprocate intimacy ]. Strangers asking for directions march up and ask directly without so much as an ‘excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but would you mind awfully…’. I was brought up to be polite. I often feel like a freak these days because very few people I encounter in everyday life seem to go to the same lengths as I do not to cause offence. I find it hard not to ask, ‘would you like some manners too?’ when someone barks a request at me or assumes I am willing to help them without enquiring first if I have the time or inclination. Lately I’ve caught myself also being direct with people – it’s obviously catching.

I sound like an old biddy writing this but I think we lose something when interactions are reduced in quality. ‘Manners’ evolved for good purpose. They allow us to maintain dignity and to treat people with respect and a generosity of spirit. They protect the more sensitive and vulnerable from the brutal imperatives of economic obsession. Time is money, so spending less time saves money. The only trouble is we are all diminished in the money saving process.

Checkout the Campaign For Courtesy.
“We simply want to draw attention to the value of courtesy. That is, to be able to listen, to smile, and to take time in our dealings with each other”
Not a lot to expect I think. I sincerely hope that you do too. If you don’t mind my saying. Thankyou so much for reading today’s post. Enjoy the rest of your day / evening / night / morning. Hope to see you again soon.


Extract from Good Manners based on the rules of the Children’s National Guild of Courtesy. [Australia]
Click here to download a pdf to display in your office, call centre, kitchen or pub.

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Pritt – the non sticky sticky stuff

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

..was the phrase used to launch Pritt onto an unsuspecting British public back in 1973. The big innovation was the packaging. Borrowing from the ubiquitous lipstick, Pritt found it’s way into pencil cases and desk tidys across the land. It has spawned a large number of imitators and now glue sticks are a standard stationery item. The ‘non sticky sticky’ phrase is curious isn’t it? Seeming to imply that the glue doesn’t actually work. Interesting that it is no longer used in the advertising. Henkel, owners of the Pritt brand, have since developed a large product line of adhesives, correction and highlighter pens around it. I’ve always found Pritt to be less than satisfactory as I seem to invariably end up with lumpy bits on the paper I’m gluing as well as nasty residue on my fingers. I also find that it dries out after a while so anything requiring relative permanency of fixing is best fixed using summat else. Copydex for example ;)

What do you use Pritt for?

Sticky moments 2

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

After the Copydex years I graduated to PVA [ or Polyvinyl Acetate as it's known in the Trade ]. Discovered by Dr Fritz Klatte in 1912, PVA came into my life when first I discovered the joy of woodwork. My first ever woodwork project was a pencil box made from Jelutong, Hardboard, Panel Pins and lashings of PVA. Mr Jones, our hippy woodwork teacher initiated us into the rituals of PVA. Particularly important was getting a ‘good squeeze out’ when clamping the hardboard base to the jelutong sides in the vice. Large numbers of soggy wet paper towels were employed to wipe off all the gooey PVA which emerged after frantic vice action from our youthful hands. I quickly noticed the magical qualities of PVA and began to explore it’s many applications.

Reassuringly Copydex-like, it soon supplanted the big C in my affections, mainly because it was cheaper. [ I had a tube a week habit in the late seventies ]. PVA is a liquid [ technically an emulsion ] which can be poured. The common form is water soluble so it doesn’t form dodgy globules but retains a smooth consistency when drying. By far and away the most wondrous aspect of PVA is it’s charecteristic of turning to hard solid plastic once dry.

I quickly discovered that it could be used to emboss designs on all sorts of surfaces. Using a fine nozzle, the design is extruded onto the surface in a manner a bit like icing a cake. It is vital to keep the surface level for the duration of drying [ normally between 2 to 12 hours depending on thickness of PVA layer]. Keeping things level prevents unsightly drips in the finished design. The adhesive dries to a semi translucent plastic but can be coloured. The result is a wax like design attached to the surface of whatever object you’ve PVA’d. I made many PVA designs but developed a specialism in smiley faces which gave me a certain credibility at the time [ we were easily pleased ].

Most effective was the smiley face I embossed onto the forehead of my sleeping friend whilst on a Geography field trip to West Wales in 1981. Unfortunately, he refused to keep his forehead horizontal for the whole night with the result that in the morning he looked like an extra from a ghastly horror porno flick. Useful data picked up at this time included the knowledge that PVA is not easily removed from the eyebrows.
[ Note to passing youths - don't try this at home - it's not big or clever - or juicy for that matter ].

Sticky moments

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

For me, growing up in the 1970s one of my chief fixations was Copydex. There was something aspirational about the preferred adhesive of Valerie Singleton. Week after week, seeing her use the magic white liquid, [brand name painted out - referred to only as 'adhesive' = middle class for glue], imprinted on my young brain that the acquisition and use of Copydex would signify achievement of a certain level of sophistication. Thus was born the early collage period – wherein teen idols were meticulously trimmed and mounted on sheets of coloured card in a thematic in-bedroom display. Never mind the lumpy stringy bits round the edges – you could pick those off for added pleasure during those long winter evenings. Added enjoyment could be had from painting the glue onto the backs of your hands and leaving it dry. Peeling it off allowed you to assume Vincent Price-like horror as your very flesh appeared to fall away [ a real hit at Halloween ]. The only disadvantage was the immense pain as hundreds of hairs were extracted from your hands at the same time – a sort of elastoplast removal orgy. Copydex has a very distinctive aroma. I understand that it is latex based. However there are strong fishy overtones. This together with it’s tendency to coagulate in dubious globules gives it a frisson of something unspeakable which I only now realise may have corrupted my young life. I always knew there was something dirty about Our Val. Millions of teenage boys glued to her every brushstroke. Double sided tape just isn’t the same. For one thing; it makes your eyes water.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Space
Have you been watching Space Race? It’s not as good as I’d hoped. A bit one dimensional with a lot of dramatic licence paralleling the stories of Wernher Von Braun and Korolev as the chief protagonists [or pawns - depending on your viewpoint]. Enjoyable though and given the recent NASA announcement; more poignant. Interesting that it’s a joint production between Russian, American, German and British TV.
Most touching scene so far: Poor little Laika in her pen fatally catching the eye of Korolev looking for the first Cosmodog.

Great news!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Sir Cliffe is not retiring. He’s vowed to keep on singing. At last some good news in a sea of despair. Regular readers will know that I try not to impose my musical tastes on the audience but on this occasion I may make a small exception. Who can forget the masterwork, ‘Devil Woman’? The legendary Roller – Skating – Through – Milton – Keynes – Shopping – Centre – Video? Not to mention the millennial classic, ‘Our Father’?
I’ve spent the day buying into the SirCliffian lifestyle. There’s the wine, the perfume, the male escort agency, the hotel and the inflatable Sue Barker. I’m just now relaxing with a non alcoholic pina colada having slipped into some tennis shorts. ‘Miss you nights’ is on the Dansette. Bliss. Or should that be Bless?
Late breaking update!
“Cliff Richard and G4 are doing a reworked version
of Cliff’s classic: “Miss you nights” for
Christmas. Let’s kill ourselves now.”

via Popbitch

Coniglio dentellare
Those crazy Italians. Not content with stripping housewives, Prime Ministerial face transplants and a Nazi Pope – they’ve taken to doing enormous public monuments. Who needs an enormous rusty angel when you can have an enormous pink bunny on a mountainside? I’m thinking it may be a bit soggy after twenty years – and what on earth did they stuff it with?