EDitorial ± 28-Dec-2002

Gathering Winter Fuel

How was your Yuletide? Cool, I trust. Did Santa bring you everything or anything that you'd wished for? Instead of writing to the big guy in the Coca-Cola ad, I created an Amazon wishlist instead, and that seemed to work jolly well.

Besides the much appreciated books and CDs (numbers 4, 11, 13 and 22 in the NME top albums of 2002, as it would happen), I was mostly given pants. Plus a miniaturised table tennis set of which I'm already rather fond.

Two cakes, count 'em: Tunis variety on the LHS, i.e. Madeira plus Galaxy coating, and the more conventional Christmas type on the RHS

The Big Day was good fun if a little hectic: eldest up just before 6am, followed shortly by middler and littl'un. Obligatory stocking opening in bed, then downstairs to contemplate a plenitude of presents. No tears or tantrums until 8am when a mandatory break for breakfast occurred. Dad, can we open the rest of our presents please? Dad!

Enough from me. Go grab something from the tin of Roses and converse with a member of your family.

Be seeing you in 2003!


EDitorial ± 19-Dec-2002

And The Next Word Is

Friends round this past Sunday for some pre-festive period festivities. After some shockingly early opening of presents (kids only, alas), the young'uns were left to run amok while the old'uns settled down to wag some chins and chew some fat. As you do when you're feeling slightly bloated.

Then one of the party, not me, suggested that we settle down for a friendly game of Scrabble, "the world's leading word game". Oh yes.

What are words worth?
— Tom Tom Club, Wordy Rappinghood

When I was but a lad and knew nowt, around the time of Live Aid, I spent a few weeks working in the same office as my dad. Most lunchtimes a table and four chairs were hastily arranged at on end of the open-plan area, and a competitive quartet sat down to (a) eat sarnies, and more importantly (b) play Scrabble.


While the mood was generally affable, things could turn sour if someone put down a dodgy looking word (out would come the dictionary in a flash), but the most heinous crime by far was to take too l-o-n-g. Totally unacceptable behaviour. Far better to grab a measly ten points than to incur the wrath of your opponents. Apparently they use a chess clock in the tournaments.

So with those memories of the mid-1980s, plus miscellaneous caravan holidays, Sunday's game was one big nostalgia trip. And despite one player, again not me, laying all seven tiles on the opening go, thereby scoring a bonus of 50 points, I'm too modest to tell you who was victorious.



EDitorial ± 12-Dec-2002

That Time Of Year

Been bloomin' cold lately, n'est-ce pas? An east wind is to blame, so those in the know tell me. Flippin' freezin' on the way into town yesterday. Hugely relieved to get inside Next for the warmth, though could have done without the strains of McCartney's "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time". Give me this anyday:

Oh blimey, it's Christmas
It's Christmas time again
It comes round every year
On the 25th of Decem...
— Frank Sidebottom, Oh Blimey It's Christmas

Slowly starting to feel Christmassy, greatly helped by today's traditional outing to Notcutt's nursery for a Nordic fir, i.e. The Tree. They also stock an unparalleled (had to check this spelling for number of ells) range of lights, decorations, and other festive paraphernalia. Quite taken with the fibre optic multi-colour trees. Not much needle droppage there, I bet.

One netted tree, resting against Broom Acres, pictured at 10.45pm on Thursday 12-Dec-2002

As if that Shake-n-Vac pine smell in the car wasn't enough, mood was further enhanced on the journey back by the syncopated swingin' sounds of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Christmas. Hark The Herald, O Little Town, etc. all none-too-tastefully arranged for trumpet and gee-tar. Great.

And was as excited as ever to buy this year's Radio Times 14-Day Guide. Slightly frustrated by the film review section including "the best of digital and cable" - La Grande Illusion, Memento and Last Year In Marienbad all took my eye - then decided to take a pen to those sections. Take that! Still, timer will be set for Topsy Turvy, Fight Club, 12 Angry Men and, of course, Back To The Future.

Oh, to find out the identity of "one of the worst films you'll see this or any other year", look at BBC1 on Monday 30-Dec at 12:40am. And it's in widescreen!

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 8-Dec-2002

End Of An Ear (Typo)

You saw it here first: tomorrow, Monday, marks my first day as one of the great unwaged. That's right, I no longer have a place of work to walk, bike or even drive to, and it feels a tad odd.

Some key facts and figures:

  • on Monday 7-Dec-1997, having left BT on the previous Friday after ten years, I started work at Eastern Electricity on a three month contract
  • on Friday 6-Dec-2002, my contract finally expired
'Course, in between times, I'd been fortunate enough to have my contract renewed on any number of occasions, sometimes for one week, and once (in the early days) for a full twelve months. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Stuck-in-time shopfront from the model village at Great Yarmouth: can I pay my bill here?

Selected highlights from this quinquennium would have to include:

  • five-a-side footy at Henley Road & Wherstead, particularly CS's injury, taking out EW, MB's own goal, and beating smart
  • daily cafetiere: ah!
  • staying late one evening to do a test run and leaving at 3am
  • trying to slip the "word of the day" into outgoing emails
  • biking to work in all weathers; ten mins quicker than walking
  • being offered a perma-job: thanks MW
  • 1998/2002 World Cups: late mornings, long lunch hours, early departures
  • lunchtimes: Record Office, Enjoy, mansion, Carrot Cake
  • but most of all, the mutual abuse & disrespect from my "colleagues" that seemed to hold the team together

Fret not, I hope to be gainfully employed again sometime in the new year. Meanwhile I'm practicing the phrase: would you like to go large? Only 30p extra!

Be seeing you!